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My ex never abides by our Custody Agreement/Timesharing schedule, what should I do?

The first thing you should do if your ex-spouse or significant other is not abiding by your court ordered parenting plan is to make written requests that they do. Pursue these actions/communications in good faith, do not harass the other side, and simply remind them of the section of the settlement agreement and/or final judgment that dictates what they should be doing. This is probably best done via text or email. If you have an attorney, you can ask that your attorney do this by way of a letter. Keeping all of this in writing is important, because if you get nasty, confrontational responses back from them that coincide with their contemptuous behavior, it will help to prove what’s going on to the judge later. You should also keep some sort of calendar/journal of all the time you have lost, marking each day you were supposed to have, so it is easily calculated later. If the behavior affects other things in the parenting plan, make sure to organize whatever other evidence you may have to prove everything. For example, photos, receipts, statements, other witnesses, etc. just to name a few.

If you are unsuccessful with attempting to get the other side to simply abide by your parenting plan, you should seek counsel if you haven’t done so already. From there, you will likely be advised to file a motion for contempt and enforcement. This is key here, because if nothing major has changed in your lives making it impossible to exercise the parenting plan, but for the other parties’ actions, and all you want to do is enforce what you have, then this is the proper vehicle. However, if things have substantially changed in your lives and, for one reason or another, you simply cannot operate the previous schedule and/or plan the way you agreed and/or it was ordered, then you need to pursue a supplemental petition for modification. Talk to your lawyer about this because the costs associated with these two methods of recourse are vastly different. Not to mention the length of time to achieve an end result, as well as the burdens in attempting to achieve said end result. A motion for contempt and enforcement can be done either separately or contemporaneously with your supplemental petition, so discuss with your lawyer what would work best in your situation. If you did both, you would essentially be stating to the judge, I want my make-up time that I lost because of my ex, and I also need you to modify this stuff going forward because what we have in place now simply doesn’t work. Likewise, for other things dictated in the parenting plan as well, depending on your situation. That is, things have changed so substantially that we cannot abide by what was in place. That is versus a motion alone, which simply states that you had something agreed upon and/or order by the judge, the other side is willfully refusing to follow that, and I need the court to order him/her to do what needs to be done and provide me with additional recourse if necessary.

If you or someone you know is facing a family law matter that needs help, please do not hesitate to contact Family First Legal Group today!

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