How to Enforce a Child Custody Order in California

Are you one of those parents who have a complicated relationship with their ex? Is your ex badmouthing you, calling you a bad parent, alienating you from your own kids, or doing everything within their power to keep you from seeing your children?

Maintaining a strong relationship with your children can be difficult, if not heartbreaking after a breakup or divorce, especially when your relationship is hurting. To protect your family, you have to know your legal rights.

Court Orders Are Legally Enforceable

When a judge makes a court order regarding legal and physical custody, it's not only backed by the law, it's legally enforceable.

If your ex is telling you thinks like, "they are too sick to visit," or "they're spending the night at a friend's house," or "our 13-year-old doesn't want to see you," then none of this is okay and if you're feeling upset, you have every right to feel that way.

You need to:

  • Keep a copy of the court order in a safe place that is easily accessible.
  • Make sure that you get a court order that clearly addresses birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc.
  • If you and your ex have made significant changes, get a new court order that reflects these changes.

What if my ex won't let me see my kids?

Sadly, this is a common occurrence. Sometimes the other parent forgets that your children deserve to have not one, but two loving parents in their life.

If your ex seems to be coming up with new excuses all the time so you can't see your kids, or if they are saying that you're late on child support and you can't see the kids until you become current – none of this can be tolerated!

Here are your legal options:

  • Call the police and get them to enforce the court order.
  • Call the DA's office and ask about the Child Abduction Recovery Unit.
  • Contact our firm and discuss filing an action for "contempt" with the court.

In a contempt of court action, you're asking the court to enforce the standing custody order; you're also asking the court to find that your ex has willfully obeyed the order. This recourse has serious consequences, so it's best to discuss it with a member of our legal team before proceeding.

We recommend that you start keeping a detailed record of all violations. Jot down the dates and times that the other parent was late, didn't show up, didn't let you see the kids, or otherwise violated the child custody arrangement.

Contact us to speak with an Encino divorce attorney who is a Board Certified family law specialist!