Court orders regarding child custody and visitation are created to protect the best interest of the child. A parent who violates these orders is not acting in the child’s best interest. However, your ex may not have malicious reasons for violating the orders. It may be a matter of thoughtlessness or preoccupation and not something he or she is doing purposely.
If you are a custodial parent and your ex has committed one or more violations of custody orders, it is natural that you may feel frustrated, angry, or worried. However, you should try to evaluate the situation calmly so that you can take the appropriate action.
Recognizing Visitation Violation
Before you can address visitation violation, it may be helpful to understand exactly what it is. Violation of visitation orders can take many different forms:
- Failure to pick up the child at the agreed-upon time, whether that means being tardy to pick up the child or not showing up at all
- Keeping the child longer than the specified timeframe
- Attempting to contact or visit the child between the appointed times
- Allowing someone else to pick up the child in his or her stead
One instance like this may represent a temporary lapse in judgment or poor scheduling. However, if more than one type of violation occurs, or if one type of violation occurs repeatedly, you may need to address it for the sake of your child.
Responding to Visitation Violation
Whenever possible, your first response to repeated visitation violations should be discussing the matter with your spouse. Stay calm, explain your concerns, and listen to the reaction. It may be that your ex is unaware of the problem. Bringing it to his or her attention may be sufficient to resolve it.
However, if the violation persists despite your intervention, you may need to enlist help. Start by contacting your divorce attorney to discuss the situation and find out your options. With the help of your attorney, it may be necessary to file a contempt motion with the court. The penalties for committing contempt by willfully disobeying a court order can include imprisonment or fines. It is a drastic course of action, but one that may be necessary if your spouse will not modify the behavior when asked. If at any time you have reason to believe that your child may be in danger, you can and should call the police.
When dealing with an uncooperative spouse, visitation violation can be difficult to cope with on your own. Call a child custody lawyer in Dallas, TX, such as from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, to find out how they can help.