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Co-Parenting, Part 2: What Can I Do if My Ex Breaks the Child Custody Order?

Last week, we discussed ways for former spouses to rebuild their relationship as co-parents. For the second half of our two-part blog series, we will review your legal options when dealing with an uncooperative co-parent. Co-parents should not constantly use the court system as a referee in their relationship, but there are some circumstances in which legal action is the only way to protect your parental rights.

Dealing with an Uncooperative Co-Parent

Our best efforts do not always yield the results we want. If you did your best to work on your relationship with your co-parent to no avail, legal action might be your next step. For example, if your ex-spouse is disobeying the child custody order, there are legal measures you can take to ensure your visitation rights are not being interfered with.

Enforcing a Child Custody Order

If your former spouse habitually disobeys the child custody order or cuts your visitation time short and you have already attempted to resolve these issues on your own, now is the time to consider going through the court system to have this problem formally addressed.

  1. File a motion to comply: If your co-parent is not complying with the custody order, you can file a motion with the court. Your co-parent would have to appear in court and explain why he or she disobeyed the custody order to a judge.
  1. Penalties and enforcement: To rectify the situation, the judge on your case might penalize your co-parent by requiring him or her to pay any of the legal fees you incurred to bring this matter to court. If you are the noncustodial parent, the court might also grant you additional visitation time to make up for lost time with your children. In some cases, a judge might also grant the noncustodial parent sole custody. If your co-parent tried to take your children out of the state, he or she might also face criminal penalties, such as fines and jail time.

Parental Alienation

Even if your co-parent is complying with the child custody order, legal action might still be the answer if your children are being alienated from you. More and more courts are recognizing parental alienation as a form of child abuse, but it is often very difficult to prove, so thorough documentation is crucial.

If you believe your co-parent is attempting to alienate your children from you, you should:

  1. Keep a journal to document every incident. Make sure you include as many details as possible, including the date it occurred and the reasons why you were denied access to your children.
  1. Correspond with your co-parent only in writing. The emails and texts you send to your spouse will provide crucial evidence for your case, so avoid phone calls and in-person conversations when trying to arrange a time to see your children.
  1. Seek skilled legal representation. Whether you need to enforce a child custody order or your co-parent is engaging in parental alienation, you will need an experienced child custody attorney on your side to guide you through it.

This concludes the second part of our blog series on co-parenting relationships. Remember, although the legal system should not be used as a referee, it should be used when your former spouse disregards your rights as a parent and refuses to cooperate with you.

Reach Out to a Child Custody Attorney Today!

Sometimes, regardless of the honest effort we might put into rebuilding a co-parenting relationship, we might not get the results we seek. If your co-parent is being difficult and uncooperative, the child custody team at Myers Family Law will help you enforce your custody order and ensure your relationship with your children is not compromised.

Contact our law firm today at (916) 634-0067 to schedule a low-cost 30-minute consultation!

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