How To Get A Custody Order Enforced In Florida
You got through the divorce, but things have been anything but smooth since. In particular, your ex regularly violates the custody order that was agreed to in your divorce. You are likely irritated and hesitant as to how to progress through this annoyance– not to mention concerned about how it is impacting your kids. Should you get the police involved? Are there other courses of action that might be more successful and less combative? How long should you accommodate an ex who simply will not acclimate to the agreement you both signed off on?
Your divorce decree likely includes a parenting plan that has been sanctioned by a judge. That means you have legal standing to have the agreement enforced. Even so, police are frequently reluctant to get involved, especially if the kids are in no immediate danger. Unless you truly fear that your children are at risk, you may find that involving law enforcement serves only to antagonize your ex. If you choose to do so, however, and eventually wind up before a judge on the matter, the police report will be a piece of the scenario you present.
Going to Court
Any time a matter like this gets to the court, the judge will certainly be interested what kinds of violations you have been dealing with, and how serious the impact has been on the children:
- Is your former spouse neglecting child exchanges altogether?
- Is protracted tardiness for pick-ups or drop-offs triggering problems with school or work?
- Are you being deprived of parenting time because your former spouse dodges you?
- Are your children being denied a relationship with you and experiencing emotional harm as a result?
Is it possible that other issues are affecting the well-being of your children? Maybe alcohol or drugs are influencing the behavior of your ex. Is the cavalier attitude toward the parenting agreement also being applied to school, physician’s appointments, or other places that will impact the children in a negative way? These are all matters that will be explored by the court.
What Efforts Have Been Invested Thus Far to Solve the Problem?
Additionally, the court will be interested in any previous attempts you’ve made to address this situation yourself.
- Have you endeavored to negotiate with your ex prior to filing a court action?
- Have you attempted to involve others—maybe former in-law or friends– in efforts to bring your former spouse into compliance?
- Do you have documentation of your attempts to solve the issue?
- Are your concerns reasonable and fair, or are you making a mountain out of a molehill?
- Are changes to the previous parenting agreement in the best interests of the children and one or both parents?
- Is the court really the last and best option available to you at this point?
What Can the Court Do?
The court has several tools at hand to address the situation. Your parenting plan may be modified, including potentially changing physical or legal custody if necessary. If you’ve been refused time with your children, the court may award more time now. Furthermore, your former spouse may be ordered to pay your attorney’s fees and court costs. If the situation has been especially dire, you may ask the court to hold your ex in contempt. This can result in serious penalties, up to and including jail time.
We Can Help
If serious violations of the parenting plan have become intolerable, the knowledgeable Boca Raton child custody attorneys at WiseLieberman can help. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.