Perhaps no one suffers more through a divorce than the children do, particularly if the child custody issues become contentious. If you and your ex are in this situation, you have likely done all you can to protect your children from the trauma that can so easily result when parents end their marriage. However, your ex may not be on the same page as you.
If you are struggling to get your court-ordered time with the children, you may be dealing with a more serious issue than conflicting schedules. An ex-spouse who refuses to comply with custody orders may be in contempt of court. More immediately, you are losing precious time you could be spending with your children at a difficult period in their lives. You may want to learn about the alternatives you have in such as case.
What should I do?
Your ex may be dealing with his or her own emotions, but placing the wellbeing of the children at the center of it is not acceptable. If the court provided or approved a parenting time schedule, both of you must comply with these arrangements. When conflicts arise, you and your ex can ideally work it out together, but if your ex is consistently denying you the time with the children, you may have to take some of these steps:
- Keep a record of every time your ex violates the custody order. This includes arriving late with the kids, showing up early to pick them up or cancelling at the last minute.
- Discuss the matter with your ex to see if there is some reasonable explanation for the custody denial, such as safety issues. Your ex may not deny you custody for unpaid child support.
- Contact New Jersey police about filing a report to make an official record of the violations. Do not use the local 911 number for this unless your children are in immediate danger.
- See if the district attorney's office can put some pressure on your ex to comply with the court order.
- Ask the court to modify your custody order to increase your time or even grant you full custody. This step is risky, so having legal counsel is wise.
- Seek your attorney's guidance in filing a motion of contempt of court against your ex. This drastic step may result in fines or jail for your ex, so carefully consider the ramifications and discuss them with your attorney.
In fact, your attorney may have additional steps you can take to expedite the matter. Defending your parental rights is critical, and that includes protecting the bond you have with your children.