Ex violating divorce decree/order - proving contempt?

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Latest post 10-31-2009 5:42 PM by JoBraver. 6 replies.
  • 09-24-2008 6:31 PM

    Ex violating divorce decree/order - proving contempt?

    My husband's ex-wife continues to violate their divorce decree/order by not allowing him access to his son on his scheduled residential times, bad mouthing him in front of the child and having adult conversations in front of the child (all of which are explicitly called out in the decree as items that are not allowed). My husband has kept detailed records of each incident in which his ex-wife has deliberately or intentionally kept the child from him on his dates/times, as well as records of each time he has witnessed adult conversations being held in front of the child. He realizes these are just records and his word versus hers, but knows it may help when seeking counsel. His ex has kept his son from him on scheduled times on three separate occasions now. Last week, my husband was investigated for a claim to DFS for child abuse - his ex called and claimed their son said he pushed him to the ground and hit him at football practice. My husband met with the investigator and cleared everything up and the investigation was closed- the investigator also met with his son and his ex and recommended counseling for everyone. Is there anything my husband can do about her false claims of abuse? The police department has let my husband know this is a civil matter and the divorce decree is not what they consider to be an enforceable order - they cannot make the mother hand over the child (who is 13) on the scheduled days unless they have a court order signed by a judge. What good is a divorce decree/parenting plan signed by a judge if it is not enforceable? !?!? The ex continues to use all of this to her advantage. There are no rules or structure at the her home and at the his home, there are rules and discipline. Of course a 13 year old boy would rather be where he can do as he pleases with no rules. His mother is more concerned with being his friend than his mother and that makes his father seem like the bad guy. My step-son's attitude has become increasingly worse over the past few months and he disrespects his father because he believes he can because he watches his mother do it. My husband just wants his time with his son - they have true 50/50 joint custody and were divorced two years ago. I understand 13 year old boys are protective of their mothers; in this case, his mother abandoned him and his father for four years before the divorce and came back into his life two years ago. I think there are some issues here that counseling would help with, but his father cannot force him to go since his mother will not support it.


    Can an attorney send a cease and desist letter to the ex stating she is in contempt and will be taken to court if she does not stop or should we just take it to that next step and get ready to go to court? How difficult is it to prove contempt in court? Do we have enough to go to court that a judge would consider all of this to be contempt? What punishment would the ex receive for being in contempt?
  • 09-26-2008 2:51 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] He didn't pick another PARENT to have a child with...

    "My husband's ex-wife continues to violate their divorce decree/order by not allowing him access to his son on his scheduled residential times"

    He can file a contempt motion with the court. In many/most states, the police are not going to be involved in enforcing a civil order, like visitation. He chose this woman, it's his problem to enforce his rights.

    "bad mouthing him in front of the child"

    Hard to enforce without dragging the child into it.

    "having adult conversations in front of the child"

    The government really has no business telling a parent they can't do this.

    Custody orders often contain 'feel good' orders. The court WANTS people to follow the order because it is there, but doesn't expect to have any real ability to enforce the order.

    "His ex has kept his son from him on scheduled times on three separate occasions now."

    Only three times? How long have they been apart? How long have orders been in place?

    "Is there anything my husband can do about her false claims of abuse?"

    Normally, no. The government doesn't want anyone to be discouraged from reporting possible abuse.

    "There are no rules or structure at the her home and at the his home, there are rules and discipline."

    Why did he have a child with a crazy lady?

    "Can an attorney send a cease and desist letter to the ex stating she is in contempt and will be taken to court if she does not stop or should we just take it to that next step and get ready to go to court?"

    A cease and desist letter doesn't change anything.

    "How difficult is it to prove contempt in court?"

    Depends on what is being alleged.

    "Do we have enough to go to court that a judge would consider all of this to be contempt?"

    Most of this will depend on what the kid says, likely.

    "What punishment would the ex receive for being in contempt? "

    Probably a tongue-lashing, the first time. Contempt can result in jail, potentially.
  • 09-26-2008 5:51 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Response to Ford.....

    As the saying goes, you marry one person and divorce another...(o; - here are the responses to your questions....



    "My husband's ex-wife continues to violate their divorce decree/order by not allowing him access to his son on his scheduled residential times"

    He can file a contempt motion with the court. In many/most states, the police are not going to be involved in enforcing a civil order, like visitation. He chose this woman, it's his problem to enforce his rights. --- if he files the motion for contempt and gets an enforcable order signed by a judge, next time she refuses access to the child, the police say then they can assist.

    "bad mouthing him in front of the child"

    Hard to enforce without dragging the child into it.
    -- the divorce decree states that either parent will refrain from making disparaging or negative remarks about the other parent in the presence of the child. What is the point of that being in the document if it is not enforcable?

    "having adult conversations in front of the child"

    The government really has no business telling a parent they can't do this. ---- the divorce decree states this is not allowed

    Custody orders often contain 'feel good' orders. The court WANTS people to follow the order because it is there, but doesn't expect to have any real ability to enforce the order.--- understood, but confusing to the parents as to why this would be in a divorce decree if it is not expected to be upheld

    "His ex has kept his son from him on scheduled times on three separate occasions now."

    Only three times? How long have they been apart? How long have orders been in place? ---- 24 months and 24 months

    "Is there anything my husband can do about her false claims of abuse?"

    Normally, no. The government doesn't want anyone to be discouraged from reporting possible abuse. --- that is disappointing, any fool can call and make a false claim and waste the taxpayer's money and the investigator's time when there are real abusers out there....

    "There are no rules or structure at the her home and at the his home, there are rules and discipline."

    Why did he have a child with a crazy lady?---- well, she wasn't crazy at the time of conception, you marry one person and divorce another, accidents happen, condoms break....and you end up marrying someone to try to do the right thing.....

    "Can an attorney send a cease and desist letter to the ex stating she is in contempt and will be taken to court if she does not stop or should we just take it to that next step and get ready to go to court?"

    A cease and desist letter doesn't change anything.

    "How difficult is it to prove contempt in court?"

    Depends on what is being alleged.----what is being alleged is she is breaking the divorce decree by not allowing access to the child on the father's residential times - three times, as well as breaking other rules within the decree (bad mouthing in front of the child, etc., as noted in the original post)

    "Do we have enough to go to court that a judge would consider all of this to be contempt?"

    Most of this will depend on what the kid says, likely.---- why does this have anything to do with what the child would say? I don't understand why the word of a 12 year old would take precendence? Please explain

    "What punishment would the ex receive for being in contempt? "

    Probably a tongue-lashing, the first time. Contempt can result in jail, potentially.
  • 09-27-2008 1:09 PM In reply to

    re: Ex violating divorce decree/order - proving contempt?

    Please be sure to put quotes in quotation marks..otherwise it's hard to read and tell where your remarks begin.

    Hubby should have no trouble getting an order for visitation that the police can enforce.

    "The government doesn't want anyone to be discouraged from reporting possible abuse. --- that is disappointing, any fool can call and make a false claim and waste the taxpayer's money and the investigator's time when there are real abusers out there...."

    ...and fools often do. It's somewhat problematic for the authorities to distinguish the real abuse from the vengeful, but you can see that the "REAL abusers out there" would have carte blanche if persons couldn't report them. And as you have also seen, it's generally easy to spot the false claims. Hence, your hubby wasn't charged.

    "well, she wasn't crazy at the time of conception, you marry one person and divorce another, accidents happen, condoms break....and you end up marrying someone to try to do the right thing....."

    Most everyone comes to this board with complaints about the person they chose to have a child with. Indeed, every adult knows the risks of sex...pregnancy and disease. Once a child is involved, the couple is "condemned" to deal with each other at least until the child is 18, sometimes forever. If only that could be adequately impressed upon the population!

    "Custody orders often contain 'feel good' orders. The court WANTS people to follow the order because it is there, but doesn't expect to have any real ability to enforce the order.--- understood, but confusing to the parents as to why this would be in a divorce decree if it is not expected to be upheld"

    Because they're hoping it will make an impression, but ultimately, freedom of speech and the right to raise one's child as one sees fit takes precedence....what would you have them do to her for having "adult" conversation in front of the child? Not sure what this means, but it's unlikely an order reads "Must not have "adult" conversations before child".

    Sure, it's wrong to bad-mouth Dad, but children aren't stupid. It's only natural he wants his Mom to love him, but children always know who really cares and who doesn't. Dad will be loved (or not) on his own merit, no matter what she says. But don't expect a court to send her to jail for this!

    It's probably true that he (and perhaps the whole family) could use counseling. You might have more progress with the child whose mother abandoned him with less emphasis on the "rules and discipline" and more understanding of his position as you will have to be is counselor if Mom won't allow a professional to do so. Being the family "cop" won't foster good feelings.

    Get an enforcement of the custody visitation order and ask the court to influence behavior towards Dad, but don't expect too much in this regard.



  • 10-31-2009 1:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Ex violating divorce decree/order - proving contempt?

    Help in the same boat here. Can you give us any guidance...Contempt order? the issue is she is effectively reducing the time the boy spends with his dad and of course does propangda 24/7...Desperate...Have read 4 books on alienation, have background in pyschology...mother is borderline personality

  • 10-31-2009 2:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Ex violating divorce decree/order - proving contempt?

    If dad has a visitation order that mom is not honoring, dad must file contempt of court charges to force compliance.

  • 10-31-2009 5:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Ex violating divorce decree/order - proving contempt?

    Contempt is the willful failure to comply with a court order-  if there was an investigation pending,  it may not be found to be willful.

    Your husbands best bet is to get the matter before a judge and try and have counseling between the father and the son ordered.  If the father's objective is to have a positive relationship with his son,  seeing what he can get the mother on is not going to help him reach that objective.  Perhaps he should be concentrating on how he can improve the relationship.

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