What if My Ex-Spouse Will Not Follow the Child Custody Order?
Going through a custody case is never easy. It can bring a great sense of relief when a custody agreement is reached or a custody order is entered. Under Texas law (Tex. Fam. Code § 153.002), courts will always default to the “_best interests of the child_” when adjudicating custody cases. The parent’s desires are a secondary consideration in the eyes of a Texas court.
A challenge that some parent’s face is that a custody order may not be the end of the road. You need to be ready to protect your rights and your family if your co-parent will not follow the custody order. In this article, our Fort Worth child custody lawyer highlights three steps that you should take if your former partner will not comply with the custody order or agreement in Texas.
Raise Your Concerns to Them Directly
A violation of a custody order does not mean that you need to run to the nearest courtroom to address the issue. In fact, it is generally best to start by raising the issue with your co-parent directly. While more immediate action may be required if they are putting your child in harm’s way, certain custody violations may be better resolved informally—or at least an attempt is warranted. Texas courts look favorably upon parent’s who make a good faith effort to try to find low-conflict solutions. For example, imagine that your ex is consistently late dropping off your child. A good first step is to let them know that they are in breach of the custody order and that they need to change.
Document All Custody Order Violations
All custody violations should be comprehensively documented. The reality is that your ex is likely to deny violating the custody order if you end up in a legal conflict. You will want as much evidence as possible that documents what they did and did not do. The more evidence and information that you have, the easier it will be to rectify the matter. Relevant evidence can include text messages, emails, and even your own contemporaneous notes.
Take Legal Action (Enforce or Modify the Order)
If the custody violations persist, you need to be ready to take legal action. An experienced Fort Worth custody lawyer can help you file to enforce the order and/or modify the order. In Texas, parents can file a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. In effect, this type of filing allows courts to take action against a parent that violates a court order. They hold the parent in contempt of court if violations persist. You may also be entitled to more favorable custody terms through a child custody modification.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Fort Worth Child Custody Lawyer
At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth child custody attorney is an experienced, savvy advocate for parents. If your former spouse refuses to follow the child custody agreement or child custody order, we are here to help. Contact our law firm today to set up your fully private case review. With an office in Fort Worth, we provide child custody representation throughout North Texas, including in Tarrant County, Dallas County, Denton County, and Parker County.