Avoiding Legal Trouble

What To Do If Your Ex Violates A Child Custody Order

One of the most contentious issues during a divorce is child custody. The court will consider the child's best interests when ruling on child custody. If you have been awarded child custody or the court rules on joint custody, you can enforce this order if your ex violates the terms of the agreement. Here are some steps you can take if your ex violates a child custody order.

Ask Your Lawyer to Send Your Ex a Letter

When your lawyer drafts a legal letter to your ex, they will explain how the terms of the child custody order have been violated. The letter will ask your ex to correct their actions or prepare for legal action. This letter is a warning. Your ex may remedy their actions after reading this letter. If this is the case, you will have no cause for further action.

Attend Mediation or Use Collaborative Law Process

Consider mediation or the collaborative law process if your ex doesn't respond to a legal letter. This allows you and your ex to declare your concerns regarding the child custody order.

A mediation proceeding involves you, your ex, and a mediator. You can either attend the session alone or be accompanied by your lawyer. Involving your lawyer is smart because they will advise you about your rights and highlight the pros and cons of the new agreement.

In a collaborative law process, you and your lawyer will hold a meeting with your ex and their lawyer. After resolving ongoing custody issues, you can submit the written agreement to the court so the judge can declare it a court order.

Modifying the Agreement

Another legal remedy if your ex violates a child custody order is to ask the court to modify the agreement. This approach is meant to make the terms of the child custody order easier for your ex. 

For example, if your ex is late picking up your child, you can ask the court to modify the order for a more convenient pickup time. If your ex is speaking negatively about you in the presence of your child, you can request a modification that allows only supervised visitation.

File a Contempt Action

If all attempts to resolve issues with the child custody order fail, your last resort should be filing a contempt action. Contempt of court is willful disobedience of a court ruling. If your ex is held in contempt of court, they could be fined or face jail time. In many cases, first-time violations don't result in jail time. However, if your ex violated the order significantly or has been accused of multiple violations, they may be sent to jail.

For more information, contact a professional like Charles E. Craft, Attorney at Law.