If your ex just can’t seem to get your kids home on time, shows up late to pick them up, or just generally disregards the visitation order all together you do have some options. The visitation order has been ordered by the court, and therefore it is a requirement that both parents follow these rules. If your ex-spouse just can’t seem to get it together then here are a couple suggestions.
Call the police. Although this is an option, it most likely isn’t going to be your first choice, or your best option for that matter. Orders for visitation carry legal power and therefore are possible for the police to enforce. However, many times it is found that the officers are not willing to get involved in a family quarrel unless it becomes a criminal violation, for example domestic abuse. If you do find an agreeable officer who is willing to help then they will most likely call your ex and demand obedience or escort you to your ex’s residence to gather your children. Therefore, although the police may be able to assist you it isn’t always the best option, as many times they will just tell you to take it up with court.
File a motion with the court. The specific motion you file may depend on what state you live in so it’d be best to speak with your attorney. However, generally a Motion to Enforce or contempt of court motion can help to solve this problem. At these types of hearings you’ll be able to request that the court reaffirms the visitation schedule; allow you extra days for any time that you may have missed; and order your ex to pay your legal fees.
Ask your attorney for help. There is also the option of having your attorney send a letter notifying your ex that if they do not obey the visitation order then they will be facing legal penalties. This is often a good first step to take, if your ex decides to comply with the visitation order after receiving the letter then the court process can be avoided. It is also wise because it involves a third party which will give you added support. Should your ex continue to neglect the court ordered visitation schedule then you will have proof that you tried to resolve this conflict before taking it to the courthouse.
What not to do. When you reach the point that this visitation battle with your ex has just left you feeling drained it’s important to remind yourself of the mistakes that you do not want to make. If it comes to the point where you have to take your ex to court again over visitation rights then you want to rest assured that the court is going to be on your side; keep these things in mind before lashing out.
- Just because your ex is repeatedly violating the court ordered visitation schedule does not mean you should too! You might feel completely at your wits-end and want nothing more than to spend some much needed extra time with your children but you need to keep in mind that if you begin to break the court order then it’ll be much harder to prove that your ex is the one at fault. Take the legal high road. It’ll be difficult now having to deal with your ex’s continued dismissal of the court order, however if you continue to follow the high road then you’ll have a much greater case in court.
- Don’t forget to take notes! Every time your ex fails to meet the visitation order to need to record it. If they are continually picking the kids up late, not picking them up at all, or the opposite, keeping them longer than they are ordered, then you need to make sure it’s being recorded. This will all serve as evidence against your ex when you go to court.
- Do not fail to hire an attorney. You need to take the step and hire an attorney, especially if you see yourself needing one down the road. Professional legal help can make a big difference and help to relieve some of the pressure that you’re dealing with alone.