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What Are Your Options for Enforcing a Child Custody Arrangement?

When couples divorce, both parents have a duty to stick to the visitation schedule included in the custody order. Adhering strictly to the terms listed in the order provides stability and is in the best interests of any children covered by the agreement. Sometimes, however, communication between parents breaks down after a divorce. If your former spouse tries to hinder your visitation rights listed in the custody order or is not holding up their end, there are steps that you can take to enforce the child custody arrangement and get things back on track.

When a deviation from the custody terms occurs, the parents may be able to discuss the matter and attempt to resolve it without involving the courts, especially if the violation is minor or an isolated incident.

Some examples of more serious visitation violations include:

  • Parent failure to show up for custody exchanges or refusal to release the child for scheduled visitations
  • Parent is consistently and significantly late picking up and dropping off the child
  • The parent deliberately schedules events to disrupt the set visitation times
  • Taking the child outside of the court permitted geographical boundaries, such as out of state or country

If the non-compliance is serious, the issue is ongoing or discussions between you and your ex have stalled, then there are a couple of court-based options you can pursue.

In Oklahoma, a non-custodial parent can file a motion with the court to enforce visitation rights. A hearing will then be scheduled and take place within 21 days of filing the motion. The hearing will consist of testimony from both parents about the specific incidents, such as the dates, times and circumstances connected to the violation.

If a parent is found to have unreasonably interfered with the visitation rights of the other parent, the court may issue an order enforcing compliance and requiring one or more of the following:

  • A revised visitation schedule
  • Added visitation time to compensate for the time lost or denied by the non-compliant parent
  • Supervised visitation
  • Posting of a bond, conditioned upon compliance with the visitation order
  • One or both parents attend counseling to understand how disputes over and disruptions to the custody agreement impact the child

The court may award the prevailing party court costs, including attorneys’ fees. A final decision on the motion to enforce visitation must take place no later than 45 days after filing the motion.

In addition to requesting that the court enforce the custody order, a parent can petition the court to hold the former spouse in contempt. If the noncompliant parent is found in contempt, they can face jail time or loss of current or future custody rights.

At Lindsey Law Firm, P.C. I represent clients who are looking to enforce a custody arrangement. Call my firm at 918-587-0097 to schedule your free initial consultation or contact me online. My office is in downtown Tulsa, just two blocks from the courthouse.

Office Location
  • Tulsa Office
    1612 S Denver Ave.
    Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
    Phone: 918-587-0097
    Fax: 918-587-3763
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