When Your Ex Isn’t Abiding By The Parenting Agreements
You’d hoped that the battles with your former spouse would be behind you once your divorce was finalized—but, as luck would have it, the rancor has continued well past that time. It seems there is constantly something: an argument over who gets the kids on a particular weekend, a late (or non-existent) child support check, the kids are brought back two hours late on a school night… the list is endless. On the other side of the coin, what if you’re an aggrieved parent whose former spouse always finds a reason to cancel your visitation time with your children? What can you do now to get things on track and hold your spouse accountable? Whichever side of the problem you’re on, rest assured that there is a legal remedy.
Contempt of Court
When someone violates a court order, it is a serious matter referred to as contempt of court. An experienced family law attorney can easily file a motion for contempt on your behalf, and the court will determine the validity of your claims in a hearing. First it must be established that the other party is aware of the court order and is refusing to comply with it even though compliance is possible.
At the hearing, both sides will have an opportunity to put forth evidence supporting their position if they wish. That might include depositions, interrogatories, and other substantiation or refutation of the claims.
Remediating the Problem
If the court agrees that the order has been violated and issues a finding of contempt, there are a number of things that might happen. Remedies for the situation might include:
- Compensating the parent who has missed time with the children for undue cause with additional time equivalent to what has been lost;
- Requiring the parent who interfered with the rightful custody/visitation of the other parent to pay for counseling to re-establish a bond between the children and the aggrieved parent;
- Counseling to help a parent understand the importance of a healthy relationship between children and both of their parents;
- Fines—as much as $500—to be paid from one parent to the other;
- A requirement that an errant parent post security or bond to ensure that they will comply with the court order down the road;
- Ordering the party who violated the agreement to pay all attorney’s fees, court costs, etc. associated with the issue;
- Modifying the custody agreement altogether.
Having an uncooperative former spouse can be a real headache when it comes to parenting time—but oftentimes it’s more than that. If the connection to your children is being threatened, the emotional growth and development of your kids is at stake. If the problems cannot be worked out otherwise, the next step may be to file a motion for contempt. At Courtney & Mills, our dedicated Springfield contempt attorneys will provide the guidance and legal prowess you need. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.