Anything that comes through the court and is approved by a judge should be taken seriously and as law. This is true for all types of courtrooms, including family law court. If your ex-spouse is rejecting or ignoring the visitation agreement the court has drafted or approved, they might be asking for significant legal troubles in the long run. But it begins with your willingness to enforce that visitation agreement.
How Visitation Schedules are Violated
If your visitation schedule established as part of your divorce says you are permitted to see your children on these hours and on those days, it needs to be followed to the letter by both you and your ex-spouse; it isn’t a suggestion or guideline, it’s a legal mandate. Yes, there is a little room for error in any given visitation schedule, but not too much.
If your ex-spouse gets a flat tire and shows up two hours late to drop your children off, it’s a problem but not a legal concern at that point. Did your ex-spouse get lost on the way to a new meeting spot? This is also acceptable, if not frustrating. If he or she continually shows up late or misses days completely, then you might need to take a closer look for the real truth and get the court involved. The same can be said of single instances of egregious aggression or intentional negligence, such as locking you out on Christmas day when the visitation schedule says you are permitted to be there.
Options for Enforcing Visitation Schedules
If your ex-spouse has violated your agreed-upon visitation schedule more than once, you may want to have a conversation with them about your concerns. Some courts won’t help you take legal action if you didn’t first make a reasonable effort to correct it on your own. Let them know that the missed days or hours of visitation are unfairly taking your limited time with your children, and you would like them to make a genuine attempt at avoiding mix-ups in the future.
This might not get you so far, especially if your divorce was a contested rocky one. At this point, you should go straight for the top shelf of disciplinary actions and get the court’s attention. Gather any evidence you have of the violated visitation schedule – think emails, text correspondences, appointment receipts, etc. – to bolster your side of the argument. With a proper plan in place, you may be able to convince the court to implement legal punishments against your ex-spouse or rearrange custody rights so you are the primary caretaker.
Convincing the court can be an uphill battle if you go it alone, though; it has already decided that primary custody should be given to your ex and that you should be the visiting parent, why would it see the two of you differently now? To improve your chances of success, you should seek the legal guidance and advocacy of Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. Our Murrieta family law attorneys would be more than happy to explain your rights and options during a completely free case evaluation today.