When parents separate in Massachusetts, the separation will not be final until an order is issued that determines the parental responsibilities of each parent. While parents may not always agree with an issued order, they are required under the law to follow it; if they don’t, they can be held in contempt of court. At The Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our family and child custody attorney understands that there is nothing more exhausting and challenging than dealing with an ex who violates a visitation and custody order. If this sounds like the situation you’re in, we can help. Call today to learn more. 

What Happens When Your Ex Doesn’t Follow the Court Order

An order pertaining to custody and visitation that is issued by the court is not voluntary—parents are required under the law to adhere to the provisions of the order. When an ex doesn’t follow the court order, e.g. failing to return a child home on time, failing to show up for a scheduled visit, failing to adhere to the restrictions of a visitation, etc., they are violating the order and you have a right to take legal action. 

The best approach can vary on a case-by-case basis, but typically, speaking with your ex about why they are violating the court order is strongly recommended as a first step. Your ex may misunderstand the order, or may have something going on that requires modification of the child custody order. If you approach your ex and they still fail to meet the legal requirements, speaking with an experienced attorney should be your next step. 

Your Rights and the Court Process 

Under the law, you have the right to seek enforcement of the court order. Even if your ex has a valid reason for why they are unable to fulfill their child custody obligation, they must seek a modification of a court order for this reason. They cannot simply breach the court order. If you have talked to your ex about the issue and it continues to go unresolved, you have legal recourse, including:

  • Calling the police. In many cases, law enforcement will enforce a court order on your behalf. Calling the police may make sense if you need help recovering or locating your child, especially if you believe your child to be in danger. Be sure to have a signed copy of your court order in-hand when the police arrive. 
  • Filing a motion with the court. The other option you have for enforcing a court order is filing a legal motion with the court. Filing a complaint with the court could result in a finding of contempt and penalties for your ex. 

How a Child Custody Attorney Can Help 

When you work with a child custody attorney, the attorney will know the law and your rights under it. They will be able to represent you as you navigate the legal system, and advocate for you during a hearing. The job of an attorney is to make sure that your best interests are protected and ensure that you are on firm legal footing.

Call Attorney Heather M. Ward Today

For your consultation with an experienced family and child custody attorney who understands what you’re going through and will put your family first, call Attorney Heather M. Ward directly today at 617-903-8955 or request a call using the intake form on our website.