If you have divorced, separated, or otherwise ended a romantic relationship with your child's other parent, you have the right to remain in your child's life. Your rights and obligations as a mother or father are generally outlined in a child custody or visitation agreement. This agreement is a legally binding court order that must be followed at all times after it goes into effect. Let's take a look at what you can do if you feel as if your former partner isn't living up to their obligations.
Have a Conversation With Your Former Spouse or Partner
Before you get your family law attorney involved in a child custody or visitation dispute, it may be in your best interest to have a conversation with your son or daughter's other parent. During this conversation, you should let that person know that failing to comply with the agreement hurts your child as much as it hurts you. Furthermore, you should explain that you will get your child custody attorney involved if he or she fails to make a good faith effort to let you see your son or daughter.
Is Your Child Apprehensive About Spending Time With You?
It's important to note that the terms of a child custody or visitation agreement must be followed even if your child doesn't want to be in your presence. However, it's generally a good idea to find out why your son or daughter is hesitant to be with you. In some cases, the problem may be simple to fix such as allowing your kid to bring a stuffed animal or security blanket on a weekend visit.
When Should You Get the Lawyers Involved?
It's generally in your best interest to avoid escalating a dispute whenever possible. Therefore, you should only get in touch with your family law attorney if your child's other parent isn't taking steps to comply with a court order. It's worth noting that your attorney may suggest that you try to resolve the dispute through mediation before opting for a court hearing.
There is also a chance that the judge in your case may refer the matter to a mediator before agreeing to make a ruling. This is because mediation is a collaborative approach that generally results in long-term solutions that may prevent future disputes from occurring. Furthermore, mediation is generally easier on your children as they are not privy to what happens during a negotiation session.
A Judge Could Alter the Terms of an Existing Order
If your former partner fails to work with you to resolve a child custody or visitation dispute, a judge may revoke that person's parental rights. As a general rule, parents are expected to work together to raise their children. If this does not happen, you may be granted sole custody of your son or daughter. There is also a chance that your former partner may receive limited visitation rights to your child until they become more cooperative.
Is Calling the Police a Good Idea?
Calling the police may seem like an effective way to ensure that your spouse complies with the terms of a court order. However, it's unlikely that an officer is going to remove a child from your former partner's home physically. This is partially because the officer has no way to know the terms of your custody or visitation agreement.
Furthermore, an interaction with the police can be traumatic for a young person, which means that they will likely tread lightly when responding to a domestic dispute. The officer who responds to your call will likely create an incident report that you can share with your child custody attorney. You can use this report in court as proof that your former spouse is acting in bad faith when it comes to complying with a custody or visitation plan.
If your former partner is making it hard to be there for your child, it may be a good idea to speak with the team at the Law Offices of Michael D. Iverson, APC. Our child custody attorneys may be able to help you develop a strategy to compel this person to comply with the terms of a custody or visitation order. Call us at (951) 418-2770 today to schedule a case consultation!