Steps to take if your ex ignores the custody agreement

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

The first time your ex was late to pick up or drop off your child, you shrugged it off. Life gets busy. You know how it is. The next time, you were frustrated. After that, you began to suspect there was a real problem.

Things came to a head when your ex just refused to bring the child to your house one weekend. He or she texted you to say they were having fun together and would be staying together all weekend. It was clear that your ex did not respect the child custody arrangement and wasn’t going to follow it. Now what? 

How you should proceed

This is a very frustrating situation. Rest assured that you do have parental rights and the law is on your side. Here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Talk to your ex. It is possible that they just don’t understand how serious this is and they’ll change their ways when you mention it.
  2. Talk to the police. Parental kidnapping is a real thing. Plus, if your ex won’t listen to you, he or she will probably cooperate if an officer shows up.
  3. Talk with an experienced lawyer. They can tell you about your parental rights and the options you have moving forward.
  4. Contact the court and consider a motion to alter the custody agreement. Courts will often take custody from a parent who refuses to go along with the order.

If this is more serious and you think that your child has been kidnapped, it’s important to act quickly. It does happen. In most cases, though, it’s just that one parent does not respect the other person’s rights, and that can be corrected through legal action. It is possible to enforce a custody and parenting time plan when an ex is noncompliant. 

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