If your spouse won’t follow your child custody agreement, you may need legal help to enforce it. Dealing with joint custody can be time-consuming and difficult on its own – let alone if your spouse ignores your agreement.
How Do You Know If Your Spouse Is Violating a Child Custody Agreement?
You should familiarize yourself with the terms of your child custody agreement. This is the agreement that you and your spouse agreed on during mediation, or the agreement that the judge ordered you and your spouse to follow after a custody hearing. It will specify time spent with each parent, custody during school vacations, and more. Read your custody agreement carefully to make sure you understand it. If your spouse is violating the agreement, you may need to take further action.
Enforcing a Child Custody Agreement
When your spouse violates a child custody agreement, you can enforce the agreement by going to court. Since the custody arrangement is ordered by the court, the judge can penalize your spouse for violating it. If the judge finds that your spouse has violated the custody order, he or she can find your spouse in contempt of court. Contempt penalties can include “verbal reprimand, a fine, jail time, or requiring the party in contempt to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.” Talk to your attorney about how to seek this remedy.
If you know that your spouse is violating the custody agreement but you agree that it needs to be changed, you can ask the court to modify it. It’s not a good idea to allow your spouse to continually violate the child custody order – even if you agree with the violation.
To modify a temporary custody order, ask your lawyer whether you should schedule a hearing to ask the judge for changes. To modify a permanent custody order, you will need to prove to the judge that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. In addition, you will need to show that because of the change in circumstances, the old order needs to be changed to serve your child’s best interests.
Documenting Custody Violations
When your spouse violates a child custody order, speak to your lawyer about how best to document the violation. For example, you may want to keep a log of every time your spouse drops off the kids late. You can make calendar events showing drop-off times or visits that note if there is a custody violation. Another common option is keeping copies of text messages or emails that talk about custody violations. Again, your lawyer can explain the best ways to document violations that will be useful in court, if needed. You also can speak to your lawyer about alternative ways to resolve custody disputes.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If your spouse has violated your child custody agreement, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.