Is your ex-spouse refusing to follow a court order regarding visitation?
Hi, I’m Marie Drake at The Drake Law Firm, and today, I’m going to talk to you about a few points of what to do if you’re the parent frustrated about your ex-spouse not following a visitation order in Colorado.
The first step, which might seem really obvious, is to pull out the pleadings in your case and the order. So, if you have a parenting plan, from your divorce, read it carefully and see if your ex-spouse is really actually violating some provision of that. And if there’s been other post decree modifications by the court, read those too, because you want to make sure that you’re not just reacting out of feelings or old hurt. You want to make sure there’s actually some merit in what you’re trying to do on behalf of your children.
There’s a couple of ways to get a court to enforce a parenting plan or a modification of parenting plan, and the one we’re going to talk about today is a motion to enforce parenting plan. So what that entails is, first, you have to draft and file the motion. And once you’ve done that, citing very specific provisions of what’s being violated by the other side, then they will have 21 days to respond to that motion, but it’s 21 days from when they receive it. That can be by email or US mail. You can also hire a process server, but a process server is not necessary. And, just procedurally, after they file a response to your motion, you will have seven days to file a reply to that response. And then at that point, at least lately, the courts will set mandatory mediation for you to sit down, usually over Zoom, to discuss all of the issues with a mediator. So you will have to comply with that if it’s a court order. If you reach an agreement in mediation regarding enforcement, or even modification that will need to be enforced, you can file that agreement with a court and then you’re done. If you don’t reach any kind of an agreement, then you need to ask the court to set a hearing. And usually a hearing on enforcement isn’t some full day or multi-day hearing. It’s usually a half day, and sometimes it’s even less. At the hearing, just like any hearing and family law, you need to make sure you follow the rules of evidence, and you also need to make sure if you have witnesses that they are properly introduced and put on the stand. And the other side will have an opportunity to cross examine those witnesses. And also, you just need to make sure that you tell the truth about the situation. If you’re asking for attorney’s fees, for example, if you’ve hired an attorney to do this for you, I do recommend asking for fees because you’re being forced to have the other side follow an agreement or follow a court order that they know they’re supposed to. So I do recommend that.
The last thing I recommend you consider is that if you’ve been denied parenting time, and by that I mean court-ordered parenting time, then you should ask the court to make that up. Ask the court to order the other side to make up that parenting time, especially if you haven’t seen the children because you’ll need to sort of reintegrate into their lives and you’ll need to make up that time. You are a parent. You have a constitutional right to see and raise your children. So remember that and also show up for them. Just keep showing up.
If you have any questions about a parenting plan or a modification and you need it enforced because you’re not being allowed to see your children when your court ordered to actually share parenting time, then contact a qualified experienced family law attorney. For instance, we’re standing by, we’re ready to answer questions, and we’re ready to fight for your rights for your children here at The Drake Law Firm. Give us a call and have a great day.