What can I do to see my son more often? My ex-wife repeatedly makes excuses to deny me the parenting time we agreed to and I fear she is beginning to turn our child against me.
While I am most likely not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Pennsylvania, if the court has issued a custody order, that order is almost always the controlling document when it comes to who has legal and physical custody of the children, as well as other related terms—including but not limited to a custody schedule. This order should be followed by both parents, no matter who may have primary physical custody.
Yet if one parent is not following the custody terms in the order, that parent may be in violation of the order. Sometimes, a discussion with the parent regarding how the order is to be followed will help—simply pointing to the applicable terms in the order will have a change in circumstances and behavior.
However, if a parent continues to not comply with an existing custody order, upon the filing of the proper petition, the court may eventually find that parent in contempt of court. In Pennsylvania, penalties for non-compliance with a custody order can include a fine or imprisonment.
As to a change in the current custody order, such an order can be modified by filing the proper pleading with the court.
When custody is to be modified, Pennsylvania courts are required to look at 16 factors to determine what custody award is in the best interest of the child. One of the factors involved in this determination is whether a parent tries to turn the child against the other parent. 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5328(a)(8). Whether this factor applies and whether this factor will warrant a change to the existing custody order is a very fact-specific inquiry that must be made by the Court.
Due to the sensitive and extremely fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can specifically help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they particularly impact your potential case.