What Happens When Your ex Won’t Follow The Court-Ordered Visitation Schedule? (Pt 1)

A woman's lap, with a date book open on it. She is checking the calendar and making notations on certain dates.
If the court has ordered a specific visitation schedule to follow, and your ex is refusing to comply, you DO have options for dealing with it!

As if navigating a contentious divorce when you have kids isn’t hard enough already, now your ex is making the whole thing even harder by refusing to follow the visitation schedule ordered by the court. They show up late for pick-ups or drop the kids off-hours past the agreed on time. Or worse, they simply don’t show up at all and you’re stuck explaining to your children why their other parent can’t seem to prioritize them. It’s frustrating and infuriating, and nothing you seem to say to them makes any difference. But did you know, it’s also not legal?

Court ordered visitation schedules have to be followed – they’re not optional!

If a judge signed a court order saying that your ex is entitled to spend three unsupervised hours with the kids, twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then that’s what they get. If they take the kids off to McDonald’s playplace for ice-cream and fun but only bring the kids back four hours later, they’re in contempt of court. Same goes for showing up early to pick the kids up before their allotted time slot, or not showing up at all. When the court grants you something, that’s exactly what you’re entitled to. No more, no less.

What does it mean when someone is in contempt of court?

Technically, being in contempt means that the court has handed down an order to someone, and that person has intentionally and willfully chosen to ignore it. There are many aspects of a divorce that would count as court orders, and a person can be in violation by failing to follow any of those, including court-ordered alimony, child support, and even division of assets. Any time the court tells you you have to do something a certain way, or be in a certain place at a certain time, or pay someone a certain amount of money. then you guessed it – you don’t have a choice!

So what options do you have when your ex violates a court order?

If your ex isn’t honoring the court-ordered visitation schedule, you do have options. And we don’t mean just arguing with them about it, or pleading with them to do better. However, we recommend that you start there – by talking to your ex first. Ask them why they’re having a hard time sticking to the court-ordered schedule. It might be something they can’t control (like a new schedule at work, or a couple of incidents they couldn’t control like a flat tire or car trouble.) Don’t yell or scream or make accusations, just ask what’s going on and see what kind of response you get.

We can help with every aspect of your visitation and child custody

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our skilled and experienced family law attorneys have spent decades helping people from all over Michigan with their custody and visitation concerns. In fact, there’s no part of your divorce we can’t help you with. So if you’re getting ready to end your marriage, call 866 766 5245 today and make sure you’re getting the right help from the right people. And be sure to come back next time for the wrap up of this subject!