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Can custody orders be ignored?

One of the most contentious issues during a divorce is child custody. If parents are unable to agree upon a suitable custody agreement, then the courts will decide on this based on the best interests of the child.

The best interests of the child in the eyes of the court may be completely different from what one parent had in mind. Can custody orders be ignored?

Custody orders are legally binding

When the court rules on child custody, this is not merely a suggestion, it is a legally binding arrangement. One parent cannot ignore the other’s custody rights or visitation schedule. When your co-parent is not adhering to the terms of a visitation schedule, this can be extremely stressful. It can also have a negative impact on your child. If your ex is refusing to cooperate, then you may have to apply to the courts to have the custody order modified, which is well within your legal rights in such circumstances.

Is your child in danger?

The reasons behind a visitation schedule being ignored may involve more than your ex simply disagreeing with the terms. Your ex may be in a position where they are unfit to look after the child. For instance, they may have an issue with addiction or domestic violence. They might be either unwilling or unable to talk to you about this. In a situation like this, the safety of your child must come first. You can apply to the court so that they can evaluate the situation and make modifications based on the child’s best interests.

Your parental rights don’t just disappear after a divorce. It is generally in the best interests of the child to have an active relationship with both parents. If you need some assistance in asserting your rights as a parent, seeking legal guidance is probably your best option.

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