Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
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How Do I Enforce a Custody Agreement in a Divorce Settlement?

When we work with you on your divorce, your divorce settlement agreement will contain all the important issues facing you and your spouse including who has what type of custody. If your relationship breaks down and one party refuses to recognize the other parent's custody rights, the aggrieved parent can try to have the agreement enforced in court.

A properly executed, final divorce agreement is binding on the parties. It's normally incorporated into the final divorce decree so that it will be as enforceable as any other court order. After your divorce the family courts retain the ability to enforce that judgment as long as necessary.

When you have problems it is important to know that there is a formal procedure to follow to have a custody arrangement enforced immediately. Yes, you can call the police, but do you really want your children to see that circus? To most effectively enforce the agreement we need to get in front of a judge if your spouse is being uncooperative.

An enforcement hearing is normally a much more simple legal proceeding compared to the entire divorce case with all the many issues it involves. At issue will be whether the agreement is valid and enforceable and if so whether it was violated or not. If so, the court needs create an order to enforce the agreement.

A motion to enforce the agreement would be filed with the family court. It explains the situation and discusses what terms of the agreement or prior court order was not complied with. After it's filed the court will set a hearing date for the motion. If there are disputed issues of material fact a hearing will be scheduled. At the hearing both sides can present evidence to support their side of the story. The judge considers the evidence and legal arguments and issues a decision.

If the former spouses have a difficult relationship child custody issues and all the emotions that come with them can turn a bad situation much worse. Like all other divorce issues it's best to try to negotiate a resolution to disagreements over custody but ultimately an aggrieved parent being denied his or her custody rights can try to bring the issue to a close with a court order.

If you have questions about child custody or feel your rights to the custody of your child have been violated, contact our office so we can talk about your situation, how the law may apply and what can be done to protect your interests and those of your child.

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