Steps For Dealing With An Ex-Spouse Who Isn't Honoring Your Custody Arrangement
While a family court judge rules on the custody arrangement that you and your ex-spouse will have to follow after your divorce, it's important to be clear about every detail so that you don't mistakenly violate it. Hopefully, both you and your ex-spouse will take a mature approach to following the terms of the custody arrangement, but this isn't always the case. It can be difficult when you begin to see signs that your ex-spouse isn't honoring the arrangement. Perhaps he or she keeps the children longer than he or she is supposed to, makes excuses about why he or she can't bring the children back to you, or engages in other concerning behavior. Here are some steps that you can take in this situation.
It's possible that your ex-spouse has simply forgotten some of the terms of the custody agreement and isn't attempting to willfully break it. If you get along well and don't feel as though bringing up the agreement would lead to an argument, consider reminding him or her of the terms. Explain that it's important for both of you to honor the terms and state how you're working hard to do so. You may also wish to say how honoring the arrangement is in the best interest of your children.
Consult Your Attorney
If you're not getting anywhere with the first step or you feel tentative about raising this issue with your ex-spouse, consult your attorney. Your divorce attorney isn't just an asset during the divorce proceedings, but can also help you in the months afterward with custody issues. Your attorney can take several steps for you based on the degree to which your ex-spouse isn't complying. For example, the attorney could simply call the ex-spouse's attorney and ask him or her to remind your ex-spouse to honor the agreement. In more serious cases, the attorney could appeal to the court — which may find your ex-spouse in contempt.
Call The Police
If you're concerned that your ex-spouse has a malicious reason for not honoring your custody agreement — for example, you might worry that he or she is thinking about taking your children across state lines without your consent or the court's permission. If this happens, call the police. While your attorney can also help you in this situation, the police can provide an immediate response if you're worried about your children's well being. Officers can arrive on the scene and you can show them a copy of the custody agreement, and they can respond accordingly.
Talk to your divorce lawyer for more information.