It’s hard enough trying to maintain your relationship with your kids on a limited visitation schedule. It can be an incredibly frustrating experience dealing with an uncooperative ex who denies you court-ordered visitation. Fortunately, there are options for you when it comes to the enforcement of child visitation orders. If you’ve exhausted all attempts to resolve the issue outside of legal action, you can ask the court to enforce the order and give you your visitation rights.
Attempt To Settle The Issue
Often, the court will expect you to show that you’ve made an effort to settle the visitation issue with the custodial parent before going to the court for visitation enforcement. Sometimes the other parent might have a legitimate reason and working things out amicably is a key part of co-parenting.
Get Help From The Domestic Relations Office (DRO)
Your county might have a Domestic Relations Office that you can ask for help when enforcing the court order. As the non-custodial parent, you must document a minimum number of attempts to comply with your visitation schedule. In each instance, you should have been denied access to your child.
Modify Your Visitation Order
If either or both parents are having difficulty when attempting to follow the existing order, they may want to discuss coming up with an alternative arrangement. If parents cannot come to an agreement, asking the judge to approve modification of the order may be the best option.
The judge will likely take the decision that is in the child’s best interests.
Have Your Attorney Send A Letter
You may be able to have your attorney send a lawyer’s letter to the other person if they refuse to cooperate in allowing you your court-ordered visitation.
If nothing seems to work, make sure you start keeping track of the dates and times when denial of visitation occurred in a journal. Record any reasons given. Save any messages you have indicated that you were at the pre-agreed location at the pre-agreed time but your ex was not there to perform the exchange of your child.
The evidence you collect can help you build your case if you end up having to go to court.
Seeking Enforcement of a Child Visitation Court Order
Your lawyer may file a motion to enforce with district or county courts. This will request the judge to require the other party to follow the terms of the custody order so that you get your right to your parenting time. The evidence you have collected will be useful to support your argument and convince the judge to help. A child support court cannot handle these issues.
The court may also require your ex to give you make-up time for the days where you were denied your visitation.
An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on the best way to present your case. In some cases, you can press contempt charges against the other party for denial of visitation, or seek to modify the custody order if you believe the other parent regularly breaches the existing custody orders.
Your lawyer may advise you to initiate a civil contempt hearing by filing a motion. Once you’ve filed, the other parent will have to be notified. Once notified, the other parent must appear in court with the child.
You can only petition the court to start contempt proceedings if you can show that one parent willfully and deliberately refused to comply with the court order. If the courts find in your favor, they can order that the other parent serve jail time or provide compensation.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
Your other option is to seek a Writ of Habeas Corpus if the other parent refuses to turn over the child to you. However, it is not a long-term solution if your ex constantly violates custody orders.
Can Police Enforce A Child Custody Visitation Order?
A visitation order is enforceable by local officers. However, they generally hesitate to get involved in what they see as a civil matter.
If there are criminal matters involved such as the threat of abuse that is not in the child’s best interests, the police may find it necessary to get involved to protect the children.
Enforce Your Rights
The award-winning family law experts at Sean Lynch take pride in fighting for the rights of families in court. Don’t lose access to your children and we can help you file a legal motion to enforce.
Contact us today for a no-cost case review.