Time spent with both parents is a child’s right following a divorce. Ideally, parents should put their own issues aside and put the child’s interests first. However, parents do not always adhere to the visitation schedule as ordered by the court. Sometimes this is an unintentional lapse, while other times it is done purposely out of spite. In either case, there can be consequences for violating a court order, especially if it goes against the child’s interests.
There are several ways that your ex-spouse can interfere with your visitation schedule. If your spouse is the custodial parent, he or she may deny visitation. If your spouse is the noncustodial parent, he or she may not pick up or drop off the child at the correct time or location. In either case, there are things that you can do to address the issue, as divorce lawyers can explain.
1. Familiarize Yourself With the Terms of the Visitation Order
You should make yourself very aware of what the visitation order actually requires of both you and your ex-spouse. When you confront your spouse over the issue, it is helpful if you can point to exactly what the court requires of him or her. This also helps you to meet your obligations as outlined in the court document.
2. Assess the Severity of the Violation
If your spouse is a few minutes late returning the kids every once in a while, this still needs to be addressed, but it may not be something that you have to go back to court over. Chances are that a gentle reminder will be sufficient. On the other hand, if your spouse is a few hours late for the drop-off or doesn’t show up for pick-up at all, this is a more serious matter that requires more forceful action.
3. Talk To Your Ex
The first step in resolving the issue with your ex is to communicate with him or her, discussing the terms of the order and finding out why the violation took place. It could be that your ex has a valid reason for the violation, in which case you may be able to work out your differences without involving the courts.
4. Consider a Modification
Circumstances change, and it may be that your initial visitation order no longer meets the needs of you, your ex, or your children. If this is the case, either you or your ex can request a modification from the courts. You will have to show a good reason for the modification for the court to agree.
Contact a law office if you feel you have to take your ex-spouse to court over visitation violations. An attorney can competently present your case.