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What Happens If Your Ex Doesn’t Follow Custody Rules?

Monique Bolsajian
Monique Bolsajian Graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara
Monique studied Global Studies and English Literature at UC Santa Barbara and is currently pursuing a career in public policy.
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when custody is broken
Everyone in a divorce situation says they want what is best for their children. But they don't always do what's best for the children, especially if a custody arrangement is finally agreed upon and approved by a judge, and one party keeps breaking the rules. 

So what should you do if your ex isn’t following custody and visitation orders? Here are some of your options. 

Option 1: Review Your Court Orders and Contact Law Enforcement

The first thing you should do is review your most recent court orders that have been signed by a judge. These orders will outline the details of the current agreement, as well as whether or not the agreement is set to expire at any time. 

Reviewing your current orders can help you find which part of the agreement your ex has violated. From there, you can take your orders to law enforcement and see if they can help enforce your orders. 

Tell law enforcement the specific clauses that have been violated, whether that relates to what time the kids must be returned, holidays, access to property and more.


Option 2: Redo Your Custody and Visitation Orders

Orders aren’t always detailed enough, which can make the process more difficult. 

For example, if you and your ex verbally agreed that you would pick up your children from visits at a local park, but this pick-up location isn’t outlined in writing and signed by a judge, there’s no way to enforce it. 

In this case, your ex might be breaking your verbal agreement by having you pick up your children at a different location. But they might not be breaking the official agreement. 

If you took those orders to law enforcement and asked them to enforce you picking up your children at the park, they would tell you that they cannot enforce an agreement that isn’t in writing and signed by a judge. 

If this sounds like your situation, you might want to revisit your orders to make them more specific. This would involve re-doing and re-filing court forms. It could also mean that you have to go back to court if you and your ex can’t reach a new agreement.

Court Buddy can connect you with an attorney who can help outline the process for you, as well as explore options that work best for your case. 

Option 3: Go Back to Court

If your ex is violating a custody and visitation order that is explained in detail and signed by a judge, and especially if this is happening a lot, you will want to talk to an attorney to see how to best bring this violation to the judge’s attention. 

The judge might give your ex a warning if they are violating a custody order. In some cases, your ex may even be arrested. 

The best course of action in this situation is to first contact law enforcement for immediate enforcement of your orders, if needed. In the long term, however, an attorney would be the best person to assist you in ensuring that your custody and visitation orders are properly enforced going forward. 

Contact us to start your attorney-search today.


Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.

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