Violating Child Custody Orders: Should You Call The Police?

child custody enforcementBy Daniel Exner

Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer

When your ex-wife violates the child custody or visitation order and denies your parenting time, many divorced dads wonder if they should immediately call the local police.

Unfortunately, enforcement of a divorce decree sometimes depends on the attitude of your local law enforcement.

In general, there are two ways to enforce a child custody or visitation order: with police intervention or through the court with a Motion to Enforce.

A court order that mandates or prohibits conduct is typically executable through the police. For example, orders to arrest, seize property, or for injunctions, depend on law enforcement agencies to be effective. Orders for parenting time carry the same court authority and therefore are technically enforceable by the police.

There is, however, a disconnect between theory and practice. In many cases, police officers might be unwilling to get involved in a family law dispute unless the conduct rises to a criminal infraction (i.e. child abuse or parental kidnapping).

The police may tell you to take it up with the court. If an officer is willing to help, he may call the opposing party and demand compliance or escort you to pick up the children.

If the police are unwilling to get involved, you can always file a Motion to Enforce with the court. A Motion to Enforce tells the court that the opposing party has failed to comply with the child custody order and is unreasonably denying you visitation

Read Related Articles:

Enforcement Of Divorce Decrees

Motions to Enforce are conceptually similar to Contempt Motions except they must be heard within 30 days by law, at least where I practice. At an enforcement hearing, you can ask the court to:

1) reaffirm the placement schedule;

2) award you make-up days for the lost parenting time; and

3) order the opposing party to pay your attorney fees and/or court costs.


divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerCordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer Daniel Exner, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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70 Comments on "Violating Child Custody Orders: Should You Call The Police?"

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1 month 1 day ago

Funny how the remedy’s don’t include ‘Contempt of court’ and/or jail time like they do if you miss a child support payment. I would like to know if any mother was put in jail for playing around with visitation, the way men are routinely put in jail for not paying state sponsored extortion payments

2 months 7 days ago
I have primary custody of my daughter but me and my ex husband get my daughter every other week. But my ex husband never picks her up or drops her off at our meeting spot his mom and her boyfriend do. I can never get in touch with him by phone. And my daughter told me he moved far away now and she says some weeks she don’t see her dad. And tonight he called me from a Tennessee number. And he has our daughter tonight. In our court order it states that we can’t take the child out of… Read more »
3 months 19 days ago

My sons father has visitation rights. The first time he was awarded he left the country for 3 months and didn’t bother visiting.he came in may he saw him 3 times from June to October and when I would go to meet him he would not show and not call me Until night time saying he just woke up. In November he left the country again and returned in May abandoning my CHILd for 7 months. He won’t tell me where he lives or give me an address. Will I get in trouble by the court for withholding him?

4 months 2 days ago

My wife’s ex has full custody recently he decided to let one of the girls age 11 move in with us . She is enrolled in school and has been with us now for 3 months and he decided he wanted her for the weekend and she started crying and didn’t want to go so we told him NO she didn’t want to go and we will not force her ….. My question is can we get In trouble or should we force our daughter to go and he will never let her move back with us

4 months 18 days ago

Me and my child’s mom have 50/50 custody she in my eyes abandoning my child I won’t give him back I told her I’m taking her back to court can I get in trouble?

4 months 25 days ago

Hi my name is Alex I got joint custudy and placement of my Kids my Kids mom not suppose to take my Kids to her house and she continued to do it I already file papers again but what I can do in the mean time

L.J. Burke
5 months 27 days ago
Being a police officer and a divorced dad I can give some advise. Fist and foremost do what’s best for your kids. Don’t play power trips with your ex. There is lots of grey in the law when it comes to this subject. Most of the time these problems occur when you are going through your divorce or are newly divorced. If your ex or soon to be ex violates the court orders, make sure you document all of the particulars and notify your lawyer as soon as practically possible. If you do call the police make sure you have… Read more »
4 months 2 days ago

Will u read my recent post and let us know what to Do?

6 months 16 days ago
I have a question. I am a single mom who has made sure that I follow all the placements in the custodial order. I give additional accommodated days and try to work out a reasonable schedule . he then does not return her, he removes her from school during his non placement time and keeps her for 3 to 4 days( no knowledge of where she is staying) . he has kept her out of state for 2 weeks and is constantly late in bring her back from placement, also please keep in Mind he does not live in the… Read more »
Jay mo
8 months 2 days ago

My wife’s baby daddy ignored her calls so she wasn’t able to talk to her daughter what should I do? There’s court ordered papers and she can only call between 8am to 8pm….

Sean R.
8 months 3 days ago
My ex wife and I were divorced a little more than 6 years ago, she was granted primary custody and I was granted secondary custody. Our custody order is I get to see my two young boys every other weekend. Just over two years ago my ex came to me and said she would like to do one week on, and one week off with the kids and in exchange she would have the child support halted. So for the past two years we have shared custody one week on and one week off. Unfortunately, I never went back to… Read more »