Overview of the Problem
Given how arduous the divorce process can be, people often breathe a deep sigh of relief when they finally see their divorce through to completion. While it’s normal to feel a sense of relief, it’s important to realize that the final divorce decree doesn’t mean that all problems or issues are resolved altogether. In many cases, spouses can run into issues with their former intimate partner, and sometimes these issues require court involvement. For instance, when one spouse refuses to comply with a visitation order, this can require court involvement.
In this post, we will identify a discuss a couple of processes which a person can go through to enforce an existing visitation court order here in Colorado.
First Remedy: Motion to Enforce
The first potential solution we will identify is the Motion to Enforce. A Motion to Enforce is basically the formal route which involves filing a document with the court and asking the court to hold the other spouse accountable for his or her noncompliance. Given that this is a formal process, several steps are involved. After filing the initial documents, the court will review and issue a response within 35 days. If the court determines that the allegations in the paperwork have merit, then the court will schedule a hearing. If, however, the court determines that the allegations are baseless, then the matter may be dismissed immediately.
If a hearing occurs, and the court finds that the responding spouse has in fact failed to comply with a parenting time order, then the court may take one of many different actions:
- The court can modify the existing order if the court believes that noncompliance was somehow related to a flaw in the order
- The court can require the parents to attend mediation in order to develop a more workable agreement
- The court can issue a new order which better fulfills the interests of the child
- The court can require the noncomplying parent to serve jail time or pay a fine as a way to punish noncompliance (this happens if the court finds the parent “in contempt”)
- The court can also require the noncomplying parent to provide “back time” to the other parent in order to makeup for the deficit in parenting time
In short, the court has wide latitude in its decision-making power, and can develop a solution which matches the situation. The court can also award the losing party to pay attorney’s fees and court costs. So, if the petitioning parent wins, then the responding parent may have to pay these fees and costs, and vice versa.
Second Remedy: Call Local Law Enforcement
The other remedy we will mention is much less formal, but still potentially effective: call your local police department for assistance. Before you call your local police department, give your former spouse notice and let them know that you will notify the police if they continue to disobey the parenting time order. In many cases, this will work. If they still fail to comply, then call the police department and inform them that you have a valid parenting time order, and that your former spouse is violating the order. You can request an officer to accompany you when you show up for your parenting time. The problem with this remedy is that it fails to address any deeper structural problems which may exist with the parenting time order itself. But, as a short-term solution, this can be effective.
Contact the Drake Law Firm for More Information
Simply put, dealing with a noncomplying parent can be a big hassle, but the good news is that there are remedies for this situation. To learn more, or for assistance, contact the Drake Law Firm today by calling 303-261-8111.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.