If you managed to work out child support and child custody agreements with your ex-spouse following your divorce, a great weight was probably lifted off your shoulders. If your ex has become stubborn and is starting to ignore support or custody orders, an even greater weight has probably been dropped right back onto you. Do you need to put up with their inappropriate behavior? Or is there something you can do to enforce your divorce orders?
Getting the Court Involved, Again
No court is going to penalize someone for paying child support payment late, or missing one scheduled visitation. In all realism, you probably shouldn’t let just one infraction of the orders bother you too much, either; everyone makes mistakes and it would probably be more beneficial for your time, energy, and finances if you tried to talk things out first.
Having a calm discussion with your ex-spouse could be nothing more than an ideal, though. Don’t exert yourself too hard to try to make bridges meet with them if it just doesn’t seem like it is going to happen. If they cannot be reasoned with, have violated custody and support orders more than once, and did all this knowingly, it is probably time to call in the cavalry. Retain a trusted family law attorney and talk about how you can return to your divorce court to file a petition that requests court enforcement of the orders.
If the court sees things your way, it may use the following methods or penalties against your ex-spouse:
- Removal of custody rights
- Additional fines or fees
- Wage garnishment
Putting your ex into jail for not paying child support is rarely used because it is not ideal. Making money to make payments is considerably difficult behind bars. But it is an option and could be enough to scare your ex-spouse straight.
Contact the Authorities During Emergencies
Child support payments that go unpaid are real trouble, especially if you are in a financial tough spot, but they do not create any immediate danger. Violating child custody orders, however, must be taken seriously each time. Your ex-spouse might have genuinely forgotten the custody schedule and kept custody over your child an extra day. Or they might have intentionally taken your child away from you, which constitutes kidnapping.
If you have any reason to believe that your ex-spouse has intentionally kidnapped your child, please do not hesitate to contact the police immediately. You should never take chances when it comes to the safety of your children. If your ex has just made an honest mistake with no maliciousness meant, you will still feel relieved to know that the police had helped you, just in case.
For more information about enforcing child custody and child support orders in New York, contact the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC. Our Dutchess County divorce attorneys can help explain your rights and options during a case evaluation and go from there.