Husband's ex is not complying with custody order


Hi Jim, my husbands ex (they were never married) is not following the court ordered child custody agreement for their 7 year old son. My husband is the non-custodial parent and pays child support. She will not drop him off at the set times per the custody agreement and will take him out of town on my husband's assigned weekends without telling us. Along with refusing to make up missed weekends due to work or Weekend Drill even though my husband gives her more than a 30 day notice. She refuses to let him speak to his child on the phone most of the time and blocked by husbands number from the child's phone. She also refuses to reply to text messages or phone calls regarding visitation hand offs and other information pertaining to the child. She also keeps his grades and medical information from us even after requests. We end up finding out when the child asks us why we weren't at his baseball game (that we were unaware that he was even sign ed up for). We recently found out he was being seen by a counselor only because it showed up on the insurance statement, which my husband pays for. When confronted about this,  she refused to respond or even acknowledge it. She makes the decision to split holidays regardless of whose it is according to the agreement. She also refuses to tell us where he is at times, usually when it is my husband's day to have him or pick him up. She picks and chooses what parts of the custody agreement she wants to comply with and makes her own schedule of when my husband can see him. I am wondering how we enforce the court order. She is the type that if he were to show up at her house to pick him up on his assigned day she would call the cops. Please help! This is just a man that is trying to be a father to his son.

Jim's Reply:

Divorce is always difficult and sometimes the people involved chose to make it even more difficult. In the situation you describe there is little to be done in the short run to fix anything. This is the sort of setting that invites disaster for the parent who gets aggressive, loud or pushy. The only way to fix this is over time with plenty of quiet documentation and zero confrontation. If an agreed meeting is missed, document to a journal. If the child isn't delivered for overnight visits as agreed, document to a journal. This sort of creation of a paper trail must be done quietly and kept a secret. He must be seen as the father who really wants to parent but is being denied for whatever the reasons. Once a year has passed (yes, really) the aggrieved parent can return to the court to seek an amendment to the visitation rules and ask for a more aggressive enforcement by the court. The reasoning for the action will be documented for the court to review and act on. Other than this there's little else that can be done other than acting like an adult and trying to deal with someone who may not be.