What to Do When Your Ex Doesn’t Comply with the Child Custody Arrangement 

By Lois G. Schwartz | November 23, 2022

What to Do When Your Ex Doesn’t Comply with the Child Custody Arrangement 

Co-parenting with an ex-partner or ex-spouse can quickly become difficult when your ex refuses to follow the custody agreement you reached or the custody order issued by the court. Here are your legal options and the steps you need to take if your ex doesn’t comply with your child custody arrangement. 

Speak to Your Attorney

First, you should speak with a family law attorney to learn more about your legal options. Your attorney can communicate with your ex or their attorney, sending a letter to clearly explain how your ex violated your custody arrangement and what actions you will take if violations continue. Hearing from your attorney will also put your ex on notice that you are taking the situation seriously.

Consider Mediation

In most cases, disputes between co-parents can be resolved through mediation, avoiding the need to go to court. In mediation, a neutral third party helps guide the negotiations between you and your ex. You may be represented by an attorney in mediation. Once you reach an agreement with your ex, you can submit it to the court to turn it into an enforceable order. 

File a Contempt Action

If your ex is violating a prior custody order issued by the court, you also have the option for filing a complaint to hold your ex in contempt of court. If the court finds your ex in contempt of the prior order, it can issue a new order granting you various relief, such as make-up parenting time, reimbursement of your legal expenses, or permanent changes to the custody arrangement. 

Modify Your Custody Arrangement

In some cases, your ex may be unable to comply with your existing custody arrangement due to changed circumstances, such as a new job or work schedule, or moving to a new city. Your child’s circumstances may also have changed substantially enough to make your existing custody arrangement untenable. You or your ex can file a motion with the court to modify the custody arrangement, which the court may grant if it finds substantially changed circumstances and that a modified custody arrangement would be in your child’s or children’s best interest. 

Tips to Remember If Your Ex Violates Your Custody Arrangement

More tips to keep in mind if your ex fails to comply with your custody arrangement:

  • Keep detailed records: You should start keeping track of the details of your ex’s violations, including the date, time, and what provision of your custody order or agreement was violated. Also,, keep all written communications between you and your ex concerning custody.
  • Don’t use self-help: Your ex’s violation of the custody arrangement does not give you the right to start violating the agreement yourself. If you try to create your own remedies, such as denying your ex parenting time to make up for the time you lost, you will only end up weakening your position if your case finally ends up in court. 
  • Remember your child: Finally, you should always keep in mind that custody and parenting time should be about your child or children. Courts always consider the best interests of children whenever resolving a custody dispute.

Contact a Cherry Hill Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Child Custody in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. Family law attorney, Lois Garber Schwartz, Esq. represents clients throughout the state, including Cherry Hill, Mt. Laurel, Haddonfield, and Pennsauken. She understands how challenging this time can be for you, which is why she will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call her at (856) 482-8799 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. She has an office conveniently located at 1040 Kings Hwy. N., Suite 202, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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    Lois Garber Schwartz

    1040 Kings Highway N., Suite 202

    Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


    Phone: 856-375-8989

    Fax: 856-482-0343