Whether an agreement was created by the court or privately through attorneys, a custody arrangement is a legally binding contract that both parents must follow. If your former spouse isn't following this arrangement, it is not only irritating, but it could be costing you a significant amount of time with your child or placing them in danger.
Here is what you should do if your spouse isn't following your custody arrangement.
Contact Your Attorney
If you aren't comfortable talking to your former spouse about custody or if their disregard for the custody agreement has been a continuing problem, call your attorney right away to discuss a plan. For example, your attorney could write your former spouse a letter with an attached copy of the custody arrangement.
Your attorney should also point out the potential penalties, if your former spouse continues to disregard the custody arrangement. In some cases, this reminder that you are willing to take legal action will be enough for your former spouse to begin following the original agreement.
Find Ways to Peacefully Come to an Agreement
Unfortunately, a strongly worded letter is sometimes not enough for your former spouse to take your custody agreement seriously. If this is the case, before you get the courts involved, ask them to consider mediation. Mediation can be arranged through your attorney or it might be available through your county's social or family services.
Discuss why your spouse isn't adhering to the agreement and determine what you can do together to ensure you both get the time with your children you are entitled to.
Getting the Court Involved
Finally, if you have tried other avenues and your former spouse is consistently dropping your kids off late, keeping your kids for extra time, or worse refuses to give your children back when you are entitled to time with them, it might be time to get the court involved. Contact your attorney to help you determine your next steps.
For example, you may want to create an entirely new custody arrangement. If this is the case, write down all the times your spouse disobeys the custody arrangement. The more information you can gather to support your claim, the stronger your case will be, if you go to court.
The custody arrangement you make with your former spouse is a legally binding contract that you must both follow. Unfortunately, if your ex-spouse isn't holding up their end of the agreement, you may need to take legal action, which includes contacting your attorney or even contacting the court. For more information, contact a family law attorney.