Choose Page

De Novo Law Blog

My Ex Violated Our Child Custody Order, What Do I Do?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Child Custody Orders- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Dealing with a custody agreement can be challenging, especially when one party fails to comply with the court-ordered terms. If your ex-spouse violates the custody order, it can be incredibly frustrating and concerning for the well-being of your children. In some cases, the violation may be minor and can be resolved through communication and mediation. However, if the violation is significant and ongoing, it may be necessary to take legal action.

When your ex-spouse repeatedly fails to comply with the custody order, it’s important to seek legal guidance to protect your children’s best interests. In some cases, the violation may warrant legal intervention, and even jail time for the offending party.

De Novo Law legal paraprofessionals can provide the necessary support and guidance to handle the legal processes involved in addressing custody order violations. In this article, we will explore the steps you can take if your ex-spouse has violated the child custody order and what options are available to ensure the safety and well-being of your children. 

We will cover the following topics:

What  Is Considering a Violation Of A Child Custody Order 

A child custody order, established during the divorce or separation process, outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding their child’s upbringing. Violations of this order can range from minor infractions to significant breaches, all of which can disrupt the child’s routine and negatively impact their well-being.

Understanding what constitutes a violation is important for enforcing and adhering to the custody agreement.

  1. Non-compliance with Visitation Schedules: This occurs when one parent fails to adhere to the visitation schedule outlined in the custody order. It can include not allowing the child to visit the other parent during the designated times, returning the child later than agreed, or refusing to hand over the child at the scheduled time. 
  2. Unapproved Relocation: Moving the child to a new location without the consent of the other parent or the court, especially if the move significantly affects the current custody arrangement or the other parent’s ability to visit the child.
  3. Making Unilateral Decisions: This involves making major decisions about the child’s life, such as those regarding education, healthcare, or religious upbringing, without consulting the other parent when joint legal custody is in place.
  4. Withholding Information: Failing to inform or update the other parent about crucial aspects of the child’s life, including educational progress, health issues, or significant social developments.
  5. Parental Alienation: Actively working to damage the child’s relationship with the other parent, whether through derogatory comments, false accusations, or obstructing communication and visitation between the child and the other parent.
  6. Travel Violations: Taking the child out of the agreed jurisdiction or out of the country without the consent of the other parent or the court, especially when the custody order has specific stipulations about travel.

Each of these actions can be seen as a violation of a child custody order, and depending on the severity and frequency, they may lead to legal consequences, including a reassessment of the child custody agreement by the court.

How Does The Court Enforce Parenting Time in Arizona? 

When one parent violates a parenting plan, the court can intervene through various mechanisms:

  1. Filing for Enforcement: The affected parent may file a petition, prompting the court to review the situation and enforce the custody order.
  2. Mediation: Courts may recommend mediation to resolve issues, encouraging parents to find an amicable solution with the help of a neutral third party.
  3. Legal Remedies: Depending on the severity of the violation, the court has several options:
    • Awarding make-up parenting time to compensate for missed visitation.
    • Imposing fines or requiring the violating parent to pay the other parent’s legal fees.
    • Modifying the custody order if violations are repeated or severe.
    • Mandating counseling or parenting classes to address behavioral issues.
    • Holding the violating parent in contempt of court, leading to fines or jail time.

The court’s primary focus in these actions is always the child’s best interests, ensuring their well-being and stability are maintained.

How To Deal With An Uncooperative Co-Parent 

Dealing with an uncooperative co-parent after a divorce or separation can be incredibly challenging. It’s helpful to approach this situation with strategies that aim to reduce conflict and foster a healthier co-parenting relationship.

 Prioritizing clear communication, establishing a consistent, clear way to talk about your child’s needs, and using written messages or co-parenting apps can avoid misunderstandings and keep a reliable record of your interactions.

It’s important to be straightforward yet respectful, focusing discussions on your child rather than any personal grievances.

Documenting every incident of non-cooperation or breach of the custody agreement. Record dates, times, and descriptions of any incidents, along with your attempts to resolve these issues. This documentation can come in handy, especially if legal intervention becomes necessary. Speaking of legal tools, don’t hesitate to use them if your personal efforts aren’t enough. Mediation can offer a neutral setting to work through conflicts, and if that doesn’t work, you might need to file a petition to enforce the custody order.

Remember to lean on your support network during these times.

Friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional support, and professional counseling might help you and your child cope with the stress of dealing with an uncooperative co-parent. And while you can’t control your co-parent’s actions, you can control how you respond. Stay calm, focus on your child’s well-being, and steer clear of conflicts, especially in your child’s presence.

What Are The Legal Ramifications For Not Following a Custody Order 

Not adhering to a custody order in Arizona is a serious matter and can lead to various legal ramifications. These consequences are designed to enforce compliance and protect the child’s best interests.

 Here are the primary legal repercussions for not following a custody order:

  1. Contempt of Court: This is one of the most common consequences. A parent who willfully disobeys a custody order may be held in contempt of court, which can result in fines, court-ordered community service, and in some cases, jail time.
  2. Modification of Custody Order: Persistent non-compliance can lead the court to reconsider the current custody arrangement. This could result in a reduction of custody or visitation rights for the non-compliant parent.
  3. Fines and Legal Fees: Courts can impose fines on the violating parent and may also order them to pay the legal fees incurred by the other parent in bringing the violation to the court’s attention.
  4. Make-up Parenting Time: The court may grant additional parenting time to the compliant parent to compensate for the time lost due to the violation.
  5. Mandatory Education or Counseling: The court might require the non-compliant parent to attend parenting classes or counseling sessions to address the behaviors that led to the violation.
  6. Restriction of Parental Rights: In severe cases, such as when a parent’s actions endanger the child’s well-being, the court may place restrictions on their parental rights, including supervised visitation or, in extreme situations, termination of parental rights.

Custody orders are not suggestions but legally binding agreements.

Violating a custody order can lead to severe legal consequences, not to mention the potential emotional and psychological impact on the child involved.

Requesting a Contempt Hearing in Response to Violations

When your ex violates your child custody order and diplomatic solutions falter, seeking a contempt hearing may be beneficial.

This legal avenue prompts the court to not only enforce the custody agreement but also to potentially penalize the non-compliant party.

If you find yourself contemplating this step, here’s a rundown of the process and its implications:

The term ‘contempt of court’ in family law signifies your ex’s deliberate violation of the custody order. To set this legal process in motion, you need to file a motion for contempt with the same court that issued the initial custody order. This document should outline the specific instances where the custody order was violated.

Backing your motion with substantial evidence is the next important step.

This might include documented exchanges, detailed visitation records, or any other tangible proof demonstrating the breach of the custody arrangement. If the court greenlights your motion, it will schedule a hearing. This is your platform to explain the violation’s nature and its repercussions on your child.

The consequences for your ex, if found in contempt, can range widely based on the violation’s severity and the court’s judgment. Options include granting additional parenting time to compensate for missed visits, imposing monetary penalties, mandating attendance in parenting classes, or, in serious scenarios, incarceration.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

If you’re facing a situation where your ex has violated your child custody order, it can feel really overwhelming. But remember, there are steps you can take, and getting help from a child custody legal paraprofessional at De Novo Law can be a game-changer.

First things first, these experts know the ins and outs of family law. They can help you understand exactly what your custody order means and identify how it’s been violated. They’re great at helping you gather and organize any proof you have of these violations, like messages or documented incidents.

If you need to, they can guide you through the process of filing a petition with the court to address these violations. They know all the paperwork inside out, so they’ll make sure everything is completed correctly and on time. 

Sometimes, situations like these can be resolved without going to court. A legal paraprofessional can offer advice on negotiating with your ex and suggest resources like mediation, where you can both try to sort things out with the help of a neutral third party.

Having someone from De Novo Law Firm by your side can provide not just legal support but also peace of mind. They’re there to make sure your rights and your child’s best interests are protected every step of the way.

If you’re ready to take action and want expert help, contacting De Novo Law Firm is easy. De Novo Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case and can be reached at (480) 725-2200



Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.


Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.