Custody or Visitation Interference

Can I stop paying child support to force my ex-spouse into increasing the time she allows me to spend with the kids?

Child support and visitation are two different things. Using child support payments as a bargaining chip can backfire. If you do not make the child support payments as and when they become payable, your ex-spouse can move the court for enforcement of the child support order. Child support is enforced in many ways including wage garnishment. Instead of withholding child support payments, you can apply to the court to for increasing the time you are allowed to spend with the kids. Alternatively you can request your spouse for allow you to spend more time. If you and your spouse are on talking terms and have parted without any hard feelings, you can work out a joint custody agreement if the two of you do not live too far apart. The court will approve this type of a custody arrangement if it will not affect the stability of the children’s lives.

What can I do if my ex-spouse does not turn up to pick up our child at the time specified in the divorce order and is consistently late in dropping the child back? This is affecting our child and me. Sometimes my ex does not even turn up.

Ideally, you should talk to your ex-spouse and find out the reason for being late or the no-show. If the reasons are genuine such as other family responsibilities or inability to leave early from work, you can sit and work out a new schedule.

If for some reason the two of you cannot reach an agreement, you can apply to the court to enforce the order. You must clearly provide details of the days on which your spouse was late or did not turn up and how it has affected your child. Remember, the court will give more importance to the affect on your child than the inconveniences you have to suffer.

I have joint legal custody of my child with my ex-spouse. Do I have to consult my ex-spouse on all decisions? My ex-spouse has always opposed any decision I take regarding our child’s welfare.

Joint legal custody works best when there is co-operation between the spouses. If one spouse tends to be unreasonable or the spouses do not eye to eye, then it can bring with it a lot of problems. The fact is in joint legal custody; both parents share the right to take decisions that affect the welfare of your child. So you must keep your ex-spouse informed at all of the time. Failure to do so will result in violation of the court order. Your ex-spouse can inform the court and the court can change the custody arrangement giving your ex- spouse sole legal custody.

You should attempt to reason with your ex-spouse. Try to find out the reason for the opposition. Sometimes, your ex-spouse may be opposing because he or she is not happy with the time he or she gets to spend with the child. If an increase in the time he or she gets to spend with the child will resolve the issue, go ahead and do it.

What can I do to have my ex-spouse contribute to the laundry, shopping and other chores? We share legal and physical custody but my ex never contributes to the chores. As a result I am left to do the chores all by myself.

You must attempt to find out if there is a reason why your ex isn’t contributing to the chores. If there is a genuine reason preventing your ex from contributing, then you can sit down and discuss a way to get over it. Even if there is no genuine reason, you should sit down and discuss the issue with your ex and try and solve it. If you cannot reach a settlement through discussions, you can send your ex a cordial letter (certified mail) asking your ex to pitch in. If that fails, you will have to go to court. You can also try using the services of a mediator.

My son father (my ex-husband) has promised our son a car if he leaves me and moves in with his father. I have sole physical custody of our son. How do I deal with this?

The best way to deal with it would be to sit down and think if it will actually be better for your son to stay with his father. Put the best interest of the child first. You have the legal rights to prevent your son from moving out to stay with his father. However his father can ask to court to modify the custody order. In preference of older children play a key role in deciding child custody issues. If you son is 15 or 16 years old, the court will generally go along with his preference. Don’t impose your opinion of your ex on your son. However if you believe that staying with his father is dangerous or risky, you should explain this to your son and to the court. Alternatively you can sit down with your ex and try to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.

My ex takes out kids for trips during school vacation but does not inform me where he is taking them. Can you help get my ex to disclose the vacation plans to me in future?

It all depends on the terms of your custody order or agreement. Unless prohibited by your custody order or agreement, your ex can take the kids anywhere as long as it does not endanger the kids in anywhere. However it may be in the kids’ best interest that you know where they are headed to for you never know when an emergency situation can come up. Talk to your ex and inform him that you need the information for safety reasons and not for any other reasons and that you have no intention of ruining the trips. If he does not co-operate, you should send a letter by certified mail to him asking him for the information. You should also send a copy of this letter to his attorney. Sometimes, his attorney may be able to convince him. If that does not work, you can move the courts. Your spouse will have to appear in court and explain why he does not want to reveal the plans to you. The court will most likely ask him to disclose the plans.

My ex is usually late when returning the kids after the scheduled visitation. I fear he is planning to keep them without returning them one day. How can I deal with this?

Try to talk to you ex and explain that his actions are causing a lot of worries for you. If your ex does not return the kids, he will be violating the custody agreement/order and also breaking the law. He will be guilty of parental kidnapping and you can report your ex to the police and sue him for recovery the expenses you incurred to get the kids back.

My ex-wife who has sole physical custody of our son is planning to move to another to take up a new job. Presently she lives two blocks away with our son and I have visitation on weekends. If she moves, I will only be able to see my son once in few months. How can I prevent her from moving to another state?

Relocation is governed by state law and it varies from one state to another. In some states the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights are given higher priority whereas in other states, the custodial parent’s right to relocate is given more importance if the relocation is for employment or family purposes. Your best option would be to discuss the issue with your ex-wife and attempt a solution. Consult with an experienced attorney to know your options.

My ex has visitation rights to our infant child but my ex’s living conditions are not baby safe and his tiny apartment lacks essential items like stroller and crib. What can I do to prevent him from taking our child to his apartment?

First of all, since the court has granted visitation rights to your ex, you should comply with the order. Failure to do so may result in loss of custody. You should speak to your ex and convince him to make his apartment more baby-friendly. However you ex is not bound to buy anything or make changes to his apartment unless the order specifically asks him to do so. If your ex does not make the changes or buy the required stuff, you can move the court for modification of the order. The court will generally require the parents to have all items reasonably necessary for the well being of the child.

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