Custody Guidelines Ignored by My Ex
You have survived your divorce, and you thought the worst of it was behind you. However, you still find yourself in regular verbal altercations with your ex, who cannot manage to adhere to specific custody guidelines related to custody, visitation, and child support. Are you going to have to spend the next few years in an ongoing battle to get these issues settled, or do you have any power to mitigate the problem right now? An experienced family law attorney right here in Santa Rosa can help you sort things out.
The Stress Filters Down
Not only are you suffering the stress of this untenable situation; your agitation is likely bleeding into your family life in seemingly undetectable ways, meaning your children are feeling it, too. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), children generally wind up somehow caught in the middle of their parents’ conflicts, and that takes a huge emotional toll. Certainly, the best solution is to work together cooperatively with your former spouse to smooth out issues. If that is not possible for whatever reason, you still need to take a deep breath, put the interests of your child in the forefront, and make some tough decisions.
Legal Solutions in a Covid-19 World
We will preface this with asking you to first take a look at our blog post on maintaining a child visitation schedule in a Covid-19 World. That said, what are the child custody guidelines issues you are dealing with? Is your former spouse bringing the kids home hours later than the agreed time on a regular basis? If the custody guidelines violations are leading to significant problems, it could be that allowing them to persist or escalate is simply harmful (such as when the kids consistently are way behind on bedtime and do not perform well at school the next day). If you have already attempted to work things out with your ex and it has gotten you nowhere, it may be time to investigate your legal options. Be aware, however, that taking legal action, while every bit your right, is a significant step, and should be taken seriously. You are justified in taking the following actions as per the California Courts:
- Request that the police enforce the custody order: Make sure you have a copy of it spelling out the details so that officers can respond appropriately;
- Request the district attorney to intervene: The DA may be able to act through the Child Abduction and Recovery Unit;
- File charges of contempt against your ex: The court can take steps to compel your former spouse to comply with the terms of the custody agreement.
Penalties for Noncompliance
When one spouse is willfully violating a custody order, it can lead to serious consequences, up to and including an order for community service, modifications to parental rights, and even time behind bars. Certainly, these are serious consequences, so it is important that you are certain you wish to pursue legal action. In most cases, it is a last ditch effort to remedy an unsustainable situation.
At Beck Law P.C., we see conflicts between spouses unfold in all sorts of ways, many of which require sustained, sensible, and grounded legal representation. If you live in Sonoma County, Lake County, or Mendocino County, and are having problems that require a firm hand and aggressive legal action, contact our Santa Rosa office today.