When Parents Ignore Custody Agreements
When a parent no-shows to spend time with their children, it can be devastating. Late pick-ups and drop-offs can be extremely stressful and make scheduling your life around those times impossible. A stable home and parenting environment is crucial for your kids, especially after they’ve survived having their parents split up. Here is our recommended course of action when your co-parent is not sticking to the child custody agreement:
1. Keep Records
It can be difficult to legally prove that your ex is no-showing or arriving late, so gather all of the proof you can. Videos showing your car’s clock where you state the date and circumstance then pan over to your ex’s car arriving late, for example, are useful. Phone records work too. Something like a birthday no-show can be particularly powerful in the eyes of the court.
Document everything! Even just writing down dates, times, and relevant details in a journal is useful and legally admissible as evidence in court. You are trying to establish that your ex has a pattern of not complying, not just a few random incidences.
2. Talk It Out
Communication can help in many ways. Show your co-parent the custody order to remind him or her of the correct days/times. Let him or her know that you missed your haircut appointment, were late for work, or whatever the complication was due to the agreed-upon schedule not being followed. If your ex tends to always run 30 minutes late, remind him or her that is not acceptable and can get them into legal trouble with the family law judge.
Certainly, everyone is subject to a flat tire or getting stuck in construction traffic, but when an unexpected delay like that occurs, you expect (and deserve) a call or text updating you as to what’s going on. If a conversation can fix the problem, it’ll prevent you from having to resort to taking legal action.
3. Call Your Lawyer
Unfortunately, if communication doesn’t correct the situation, your next step should be to call your lawyer. Your lawyer will prepare a “Notice to Comply” to be served on your ex. This legal document re-states the court order for clarity and notifies your ex of what he or she needs to change in order to come into compliance. If, after being served the Notice to Comply, your ex continues to no show, arrive late, or whatever other issue, you’ll be able to take legal action against him or her.
If You Are Denied Visitation
If your ex is not allowing you to see your children at your rightful times, this is also a failure to comply with a custody order. Even if your ex tells you ahead of time that he or she won’t be giving you the kids for the weekend or the holiday, you must still meet in the agreed location at the specified time and place to meet your end of the custody order. Record a video or memo that you appeared at the court-appointed time, and your ex did not.
We Are Southlake Child Custody Lawyers Near You
At Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law, we pride ourselves on amazing customer service, staying on top of new laws and legal technology, and delivering optimal outcomes for each and every client. As Southlake child custody attorneys, we feel that matters involving your kids are particularly special. Find out more by reaching out to us today to set up a consultation in person or over video chat.