Divorces can be emotional and stressful, and when children are involved, child custody arrangements can make things even more challenging and may cause additional concerns. What if your ex-spouse doesn’t abide by the arrangement and doesn’t meet you with your children on time? What if they talk about moving out of state? Luckily, there are laws in place and legal professionals available to help enforce the terms of these types of agreements.
If your divorce has been finalized and you are wondering how the custody and visitation part of the agreement will work out between you and your ex-spouse, it is not unusual to feel uneasy about it. Below are the common custody and visitation concerns that divorced parents experience, and what you can do:
• Failure to Comply with Requirements of an Agreement – You may wonder what happens if one or both parties fails to abide by the terms of the custody or visitation agreement. For example, a parent might intentionally extend their visit with the child to either spend more time with him or her or to intentionally deprive the other parent time with the child. If a parent fails to observe the terms of a custody agreement, you can contact your lawyer or a legal professional so they can help you enforce the terms of the agreement or to seek modification of the agreement. Keep in mind that there may be situations where the withholding of custody may be permissible, such as if an ex-spouse is keeping the child safe from danger or if they are late to an exchange due to traffic during the commute.
• Communicating with Ex-Spouse – One emotional part of child custody agreements is communicating with an ex-spouse to make arrangements for the children. Parents or ex-spouses may hold grudges against the other parent or ex-spouse which can in turn make it difficult to talk with them on a regular basis. If this is the case, consider meeting with a counselor to help through these hard times or using an application or email service that maintains all such communications. If communicating with an ex- spouse is difficult because the other party is not responding to make arrangements on time, this may be considered a violation of custody agreement and intervention of a lawyer or legal professional may be necessary to ensure the right action is taken.
• Child Relocation – Many child custody agreements include a mile radius that both parents have to abide by in order to keep either parent from moving out of state or out of the mile range. If you or your ex-spouse are talking about moving out of state – whether it would be because of work, taking care of a sick family member, or for other reasons – it is important to note that the current agreement would likely need modified. Furthermore, a relocation requires approval by both parents and/or the court.
• Child Stability – When sharing custody of a child, a concern might be the stability of the child due to balancing their life in multiple homes. You can help to resolve this issue by ensuring you and your ex-spouse are parenting similarly and have the same values. You can also try to be flexible if your child has an activity at the other house and wants to stay longer to participate.
If you are experiencing custody or visitation concerns, or have questions about your situation, our lawyers would be happy to meet with you to discuss your situation and assess your options. Contact us online at https://wildermahood.com/contact/ or call our law firm at 412-261-4040.
The attorneys of Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have experience in child custody and visitation matters. Since 1978, we have assisted clients across western Pennsylvania in resolving family-law issues. Our founding partner, Joanne Ross Wilder, wrote the handbook used across the state by practitioners and judges in the family law arena.
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