My ex wife is not following our court ordered Child Visitation agreement rights. How do I enforce my rights and what can I do?

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Question:

My ex-wife and I had a court order that says I have the children every other weekend and three weeks in the summer, but lately, she won’t let me see our children on the weekends anymore.  I’m scared I won’t be able to see my children during the summer, or at all.  What can I do to make her let me see them?

 

Answer:

Enforcing custody rights is not as difficult as your relationship with your ex-wife may make it seem.  An order from the court has the force of law—when one of the parties violates the order, the court has the ability to punish her and require that she abide by the order in the future.

The first step is to gather all of your documentation and timelines together.  Make sure you have the original court order, and any other papers that relate to the order, the court case, or the time you spent with your children.

Custody laws vary by state, so it is important to speak to a lawyer in your area before filing any documents with the court.  You will likely file a motion to hold your ex-wife in contempt of court for violating the court order.  The penalties may be different in each state, but they can include a fine, community service, or even jail time.  There probably won’t be a serious penalty if this is the first time you are coming before the court on this issue, but if there are further violations, the court may be willing to impose harsher punishments.

The court may also be willing to modify parts of the court order, such as the timing and location of pick-ups and drop-offs, so be sure to talk to your attorney about any problems you see with the logistics as they have been playing out in practice.  Your lawyer can suggest any necessary changes and guide you through the process of filing a motion.

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This site does not provide legal advice and users of this site should not interpret any of the information presented here as legal advice. The information provided merely conveys general information related to commonly asked legal questions. We are not a law firm and the employees responding to questions are not acting as your legal attorney. You should ultimately consult with a lawyer for your case.

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