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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32 comments on “Violating Child Custody Orders: Should You Call The Police?

    Not calling the police resulted in my boyfriend losing his split parenting time with his children, he went from getting them for six months out of a year down to just two…

    Words from experience
    I can tell you first hand that this is correct. It does depend on the officer, but it also helps to be very calm and collected. I went to visit my kids and I did a lot of researching and verifying with the County PD of where I was visiting. Here are some hints that I feel will really help.

    Have a copy of your decree with you. If you have corresponded via e-mail or text, print them out, but make sure that you have been calm and amicable in every aspect of the correspondence otherwise the officer will still see you are on the brink of aggression.

    You can call the dispatcher and ask questions pertaining to what your decree says and any other questions that you can think of that your ex may rebuttal with. Cover all your bases. Once you have gotten all answers taken care of, you need to actually talk to an officer prior to picking up your child(ren).

    Get to a place just a block or two away from the ex’s home and call dispatch stating you want to have an escort and consult with an officer regarding your visitation and you’re wanting to keep the piece. This is crucial b/c now the officer knows you are wanting to be amicable, calm, collected, and just want visitation with your child(ren).

    The police officer(s) will come and just let them know casually what your intentions are and that you want no problems, just want to spend time with your child(ren). Also re-ask questions that you have already asked the dispatcher b/c now you physically have an officer that will be with you. Finally you will both go to get the child(ren) and three things will occur

    1 – The mother can deny the visitation and the police CANNOT obtain the child(ren)
    2 – The mother has left the house regardless of your information to pick up the kids (must have this proof in writing)
    3 – The wife will give you the child(ren)

    Here’s is what happens if the first two things occur. The officer may or may not create a police report, but you have still have a case number regarding what had just happened and you can use this to build your case against your ex regarding child alienation, visitation refusal, contempt of decree for visitation, etc. Whatever you wanna call it, it will help in your case for later.

    I’m no attorney, or paralegal, but I’m beginning to do my own research and finding ways not to get stepped on and have my kids when it’s my time and escape from the dictatorship of my ex. I enjoyed having my kids and loved them to death that weekend. I hope this helped you.

    hello dacc thank you for the info yes it will be helpful im just going trough this hell pleasekeep in touch maybe i could pick ur brain sometime abouyt issues i have noone to really talk aboout or too

    Your awesome, thus is the first piece of mind I’ve acquired since my ex wife after abandoning me and our three children 10’9 & 7 three years ago, and she had some guy come from new York where she is and took them from they’re school. Then flew them to new York and nobody would tell me who had my children. It’s been over a month and a half now and I feel so bullied. Even my lawyer will not communicate with me and my lawyer went from “were going to make them pay” and all fire and brimstone immediately after first payment turned into a distant and at times verbally abusive almost spiteful acting woman. I’ve begged her for weeks now to tell me if there is anything I could be doing or should do before our court date in four days. And still no response and I received an invoice from the lawyer charging me $150 per text message all which consisted of one sentence. Let me back track one moment by saying all of this was made possible by a dishonest process server. Who claimed to have seen me and laid the papers on the front porch and left. A week an half later I get a call from the school telling me that my children are being taken by an unnamed person. Since my ex’s fiance had filed an affidavit stating that I burned my son and hit and hurt him. It made me nauseous to the point I couldn’t even read it. I truly have nobody informing me of my rights nor helping me prepare or upholding my rights as a father. Me and my father raised them for over three years without any help from her. Then she is given the power to come and snatch the children from us without any warning. I honestly feel like ending this pain. I feel my children have already been allowed to be brainwashed coerced and manipulated possibly beyond repair. I seen a letter that was in my son’s handwriting stating things that were not just dishonest but were flat out wrong or never happened. Text book slime ball moves of a divorce custody attorney, wish there was a way to name a complaint against the server.

    I’m going through the same problem with my ex. She pulls visits because she thinks I’m unstable. She lives very far away and her accusations have no grounding…they are heresay I have sent mean texts but not threatening. I’m really missed and I want to know what my best course of action would be. I haven’t seen my daughter in 2 months. Have a restraining order from another girl can that be used against me?

    Same problem
    My daughter 16 yo, the last time I had visitation was when she was 12yo. Her mother refuses to give me her address therefore I have no idea where me child is located. Because of this I can not exercise my court ordered parenting time. I finally got a lucky break my ex went for a increase of child support in doing so she had to give her address to TAG. Since I have many times contacted the, asking if they had a updated address they mailed me her current address. I sent a letter with copy of the court order stating my intention to exercise my rights. Two weeks pasted it was my court ordered weekend and I went to her rental house at the court ordered time and date. My ex had moved and taken my child with her and this time she has not updated her address with TAG. I need help I have no idea where to turn at this point she is like a ghost. No property in her name, no house phone in her name, no utilities in her name nothing I can’t find her because she owns nothing! Amy. And all suggestions are welcome I have hire two lawyers over the past four years and they all say the same thing find her and it can be I forced. Dear God my child will be an adult thinking I don’t love her enough to co tact her before this is over.

    Keith I my self have been through the same exact problem. My sons mom has been moving from city to city with my then 2 year child. we had joint custody and I had visitation rights, but I could not find her to enforce my visitation rights. so what I did was went to family court and filled a petition for enforcement. I also hired a private investigator. it took a really long time finding her but eventually we did. once we got in court I had the option of having her arrested for violating the order of joint custody. I didn’t I took her to court for full physical custody and now I have custody of my son.

    You should purchase some facial recognition software then cross reference all the school year book pictures from the last known address and for some years back also since you say she’s been out of your life since twelve and is sixteen now. Look up the schools around the last known address and acquire there year books or access to them online. Most will be accessible, you can even look yourself and look so accordingly to your daughters last known grade, if she had any special needs there would be a more limited amount of results for special needs students. But the facial recognition software is super fast convenient and honestly after looking at anything listening to anything for so long you become blind our deaf in a sense or certain aspects. Also the software will allow you to use whatever pictures you have in your possession as reference pictures to compare to all the potential. If your daughter had any medical conditions, hobbies , talents or love for sports etc. You can do investigating at places that would’ve catered to those things. All this goes for your wife as well. To know a person’s future you first need to know there past. Your wife and daughter may have operated under aliases or Nick names and if you acquire that information it could help you locate them where they are now. If they had any friends or social groups you could attempt to approach them as a family friend or whatever you think to be good. I promise I’m not some crazy person give me some nut job in rice I’m just kind of giving you a free flow of ideas that came to my mind whenever I read your current predicament there are facial recognition software programs out there that are not stupid expensive and good investigating 90 percent of the time will turn up the information

    I can’t believe some people
    Sorry to hear you all are going through this kind of stuff. I myself am going trough the same thing. I am the mother though. I know this is dads divorce site but I am nothing like the moms you have to deal with. I have been civil with my ex since I left him for beating for the last time. he’s been trying to keep our daughter from me despite a joint custody court order in place. I missed Halloween last night and so many other days because he’s refusing to give me my daughter. he’s filed another molestation accusation on me to try and get full custody easier (my daughter has never been molested, especially in my care) he’s been harassing me for two years. I just want to see my daughter with no problems and live life happily without him. I’m trying to research what I can do. despite all his false accusations which lead to CPS getting involved to interview me (which leaves my name in the system forever now) I am still civil with him for the sake of our daughter. I seem to be the only one who cares for her. I ALWAYS prove him wrong in court cause I have so much proof but it’s very tiring and heartbreaking having to fight for my innocence and him violating court order. What should I do?

    My Girlfriend’s Criminal Ex
    Both my girlfriend and I have custody agreements with our respective ex’s, but the difference being that her ex is a drug dealer, and my ex is a white-collar manager. I have 50/50 custody in which my son switches houses every week, which has never been a problem, and my girlfriend has an order that basically has no specific times, but states that both parents have to agree to the visitation. It’s never been a problem because my step-son’s father only shows up every six months for 15 minutes, but lately he’s been trying to come around almost every day. He is a very bad influence in our family’s life. He’s connected to gangs and dangerous, but we don’t have the tools to deal with him. I am an academic working at a university, and my girlfriend is a director of a clinic. We work within the law, whereas the father does not. He threatens her and uses intimidation to get around the custody agreement, which we would like to enforce reasonably (give him a Saturday every second week and an evening or something). We are learning that the law only works for people who follow it, and the police don’t care. Even if they did care, in order to enforce the order we would have to spend a fortune for another piece of paper that a criminal won’t care about anyway. This man is going to try turn his son into a criminal like himself. He is a danger to our family. The law doesn’t work. This is why people work outside the law.

    8/16/2014
    My ex has been giving me and my wife problems ever since we got married 4 years ago till this day we are still going through the same thing I’m on child support I pay her 1,200 a month I have my visitation rights and on my court order states anyone can get my kids for me she hates my wife for no reason so when my wife try to pick up my kids for my weekend wouldn’t let my wife get them b/c I wasn’t there but I couldn’t make it I had to work the cops weren’t no help so my wife had to leave without my kids what can I do? Can she even get in trouble for that? She suffers from bipolar/depression so it’s been hard dealing with her I need some help I try talking to lawyers but hasn’t got anywhere please someone help me with correct facts on what I should do?

    Hey mike…
    I know exactly what you’re talking about. I will make this very easy, go to the courthouse and file a motion to enforce.once they enforce the decree you already have that says either you or your wife can pick up, keep the original and the new motion with you. Have your wife keep a copy with her as well. If she refuses to give you the kids she can simply call the police show them the original order and the new enforcement order. she will have no choice at that point.

    Motion of Enforcement
    Hey Mike & Jason,

    I dont mean to be pesimistic, because I am going throught the same thing right this second. I wish you were right Jason…but here in Texas you would not be right. Thew cops say “they cannot force her to comply and that you , WILL HAVE TO TAKE HER TO COURT” because it is ‘CIVIL” which is bullchit and of course it will cost you attorney fees and then when you get to court she may only recieve a slap on the wrist if that. I am not saying dont do it…cause I am most definately going to try and do it…but I am saying that it is an uphill battle…but definately one worth fighting.

    Hello! How did the motion to enforce turn out? We might have to go to court if she doesn’t let us have visitation. We are also in Texas

    bs
    The laws, police that enforce them and even the court is circa 1960s. They favor the woman period. You can give me whatever legal jargon or quote whatever statue. There is a difference in what maybe writing and what is practiced. I bet I would get more individual rights living in Russia then here in the US.

    Ex wife refusing open communication
    My ex wife refuses to have open communication with me as far as our children are concerned. She has primary custody because, according to the state of Florida, I work too much. She refuses to give me her phone number in case of an emergency for our children and the only way she will communicate is through email. 98% of the time she doesn’t even respond. If she does respond, it is a one word answer. In our divorce decree, it says there needs to be open communication and there is almost none. She is also coaching our children into being scared to go with me. She tells them, I am bad, my house is bad, it is dirty, and there are monsters here. All of that is false. I’ve tried everything I can think of and I don’t know what to do anymore. What should I do?

    You think that’s bad, listen to this. My Ex-Wife calls me on the phone and says, come say goodbye to your son. I’m moving to Mississippi. And I said, no your not, we have a child visitation order.
    She says, yes I am. I told her I’ll call the police. She said, I don’t care. I called the police, they met me at her house, where my son was. And her car wasn’t in the driveway. We knocked at the door, no answer. Then we heard a car coming down the street. Myself, and two police officers saw a car coming up the driveway of her house. It was her and my 5 yr old son & her best friend girlfriend.
    They saw me & the two police officers, and hit the gas and left the scene. One of the officers started running to the patrol car, he said I’ll get her. The other police officer said, let her go. The child might be in the car. She left the state, to Mississippi that night. I thought I’m getting custody
    Yah!!!! Only the police officers couldn’t do anything. It’s Civil!!! I’m thinking is felony eluding, child endangerment, & kidnapping. She never got in any trouble. One year later she moved back to town. And she has still gotton away with it. The courts know us fathers aren’t rich enough to take the ex-wife’s to court every time they violate the orders. That’s the way the courts want it. Ask yourself why do all the lawyers want $5000 dollars to help you. It’s a way to discourage good fathers from getting custody of the kids. The system knows the Ex-Wife’s won’t pay their child supports anyway. The systems gender bios. There is no question about it.

    My best advice to all of you is. You dont need a lawyer. Always be first to file. Your xes wallet can only run so deep. Keep taking her to court over and over until she gives in or gets contempt for kidnapping. Woemen are getting away with it because the necessary action is not being aquired. Everyone should learn and read court process rules and start figuring it out correctly.

    Hi, all. If you want to spend thousands of dollars fighting your ex and then at the end find out that your children really do no want to be with you or go to you, i recommend: STOP!!! Your legal right does not create relationship and your relationship with a child does not obey to legal right. If the child wants to be with you, he/she will, especially when they are older. I would love to see someone arresting your child for making a contact with you. I spent 11 years fighting the worthless legal system we have in this country, and guess what–I am giving up. After thousands of dollars, wrongful accusations, fighting, arguing, traveling, and other stuff, I have decided that it would be the best if I take care of myself first, because if you don’t, no one will, including your children, your ex or the court system. Good luck.

    my ex is threatning to have me arrested for child abuse tht never happen if i don’t leave her and her new boyfriend alone…this is a bunch of bull….when will the courts see what these women do to us fathers…haven’t seen my kids in over 2 years and not sure where they are or if they are even alive…she had said she would kill them and nothing would happen because she thought she was dying of cancer..so i’m worried

    I have sole legal custody of my son. His father lives in Illinios. He’d like him to come visit. What if I were to give him that chance and he didn’t return him? That would be considered kidnapping correct? I don’t know illinois laws. If his intentions are trying to get custody can he go to the courts and be granted even though I have sole custody?

    If you do not have a court agreement he can take your child and there is nothing you can do if I were u I would file a motion for custody in your county and find a good lawyer that way the ball is in your court. Good luck,
    BRITTANY

    I need to know what to do when the court fails to enforce a court judgement. The motion was dissmissed for one of two reasons. Defendant did not pay court costs or did not give an a way of relief. Why does a white male have to pay to have visitation/ custody enforced? Interference with visitation / custody is a class c felony. Why isn’t anyone being charged with it?

    Question my wife and I are still married but soon to be filling for divorce. If she leave for a trip out of the country no not military and my son and I are not here when she gets back just a town over from where we are now. Will I get in trouble for kidnapping?

    BRAD: I know this must be a scary situation your in but if you question it kidnapping then you already know deep down the answer my advice is to try to get along with ur ex the best you can file a motion for joint custody asap. Meet half way to pick up and drop off ask for every other year to calm your child on taxes pay child support and co- parent best you can it is very difficult but it is best for both of you to be in the child’s life ask for every other holiday ask for every other weekend and 2-6weeks in summer. If you have a criminal backround you will probably be started off will supervised visits. Record every thing texts emails phone calls never step out of line do what is in the best interest of your child,l sincerely,
    BRITTANY

    Ok I’m 12 and my mom won’t let me go live with my dad I live in waco texas with my mom my dad lives in west texas on Saturday June 6 I ask my mom can I live with my dad and she said no and I found that I can go live with my dad if I’m twelve with out no questions asked because texas laws state that I can live with a parent with mine own interest but one of my parents have to make a motion and my mom won’t of course but my dad may if I get to see him before the end of summer

    I let my kid go to his dad for45 day . we got him a phone so I could know he was OK and hes been gone 5 days and the last two day I haven’t heared from him I texted dad and nothing what should I do

    What happens when you try to do what you are suppose to and the ex who hasn’t had anything to do with the kids until a new girlfriend want kids tries to set me so they can take the kids? I live in a small town where the PD grew up with the ex and knows the family. I’m stuck here without help from the PD. Tell me how I am to stay safe against having my children taken, I too supply my kids with a phone but they have been threatened if they call me or any of my family. What the kids tell me is hair raising and scares me. Someday I know my kids will be gone and why aren’t the police held to uphold the court orders?

    I live in the DFW area and I am the custodial parent of my 14 and 10 year old sons. I am remarried and have a 5 year old son with my husband. My divorce decree geographically restricts the children to remain within my current ISD. My ex husband has struggled to pay child support and is currently in arrears over $9000. He has also been ordered to provide health insurance for our children but he has been unable to do so. The boys have only been able to see their dad 8 to 10 hours a week on Sundays due to my ex’s job. He is also unable to exercise his right to time with the boys during Spring Break, his extended Summer visitation, or any of the other holidays he is entitled to. The boys rarely stay overnight with their dad because he doesn’t have a place of his own and has been staying on one of his friend’s couches. I have adjusted the visitation schedule in order to give the boys the most time with their dad. My dilemma is that I have been offered a career in my hometown that is 384 miles from our current home but still within the state of Texas. This position would provide a substantial salary as well as provide health, vision, and dental insurance for my family. Currently my mother sends me money in order to help me make ends meet since my ex’s child support payments are inconsistent at best. If I could accept this position I would no longer need to accept her generous gift every month. Also, a majority of my extended family including my mother and both my sisters with their families, still live in and around my hometown. My family and I are very close and supportive of each other. I know that my ex husband is unable to provide for our two sons, but I also know he would fight my request to the courts for relocation. I would work with my ex husband in any and every way to ensure the boys maintain a relationship with their dad. I have no hard feelings towards him whatsoever, I just want to do everything I can to provide for my children. My question is: What are my chances of a judge in Tarrant County granting my request for permission to relocate? I have heard horror stories of the non-custodial parent ending up with full custody in the end. If that is even a remote possibility I would not want to risk it. Thank you for any and all advice.

    Please help. My boyfriend and I planned a holiday with our children. The dates was confirmed by his sons mother verbally. Three weeks before leaving she has only told us his son has to be back a day earlier than we have booked. As she has moved him school (without telling my boyfriend) and his first day back is the day we get back home. We can’t cancel or change flights and physically can not afford over £1000 to come home earlier. The sons mother tells us it’s not her problem and if he’s not back she will call the police and have them waiting for us when we land on the day we arrive. She refuses to communicate also. We have two weeks before we leave, what do we do?

    Hello Everyone,

    Much like Keith’s story, I have a 3 year old son in which I have not seen since he was about 6 months old.

    His mother refuses to give me her address & phone number, stating through email that
    “She does not want me at her house”

    I’ve read about filing a motion of petition, not sure exactly how to do that, & don’t really have money for the fees it cost.

    Not trying to lock her up, just want to see my son.

    If physical custody is awarded, though it may shock my son for a moment, then that will work too.

    I am worried about his environment at this point, so I’m willing to go to any length.

    Please help me, with step-by-step instructions on what to do.

    I live in Austin Texas, my son supposedly lives in Denton Texas, about 3 and half hours from where I am.

    My pockets are empty, what can I do?

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