Like most divorced spouses, you probably had some good reasons for ending your marriage. If one of them was your inability to get along with your husband or wife, your post-divorce situation may be somewhat fraught. That is, if you share custody of your kids with your ex-spouse, some issues may arise when it comes to visitation time.
In Georgia, many divorcing spouses negotiate an acceptable custody agreement. Then, a judge reviews and accepts the agreement before issuing custody and visitation orders. While you should be able to rely on your former partner to comply with the terms of the visitation order, that does not always happen. As such, you must know what happens if a co-parent violates the order.
If you and your ex-husband or -wife have not had a complete breakdown of communication and collaboration, you may be able to seek a resolution through mediation. This process involves working together with a third party to reach an acceptable outcome. Often less expensive and faster than a court proceeding, mediation may be your go-to option.
Mediation certainly does not solve everything. Because your visitation order is legally binding, you may choose to ask a court to enforce it. The judge has wide latitude in doing so. While he or she cannot rework custody at a visitation-related hearing, the judge may change the parameters of visitation. He or she may also order makeup visits and require the noncompliant spouse to pay associated costs. Finally, if a co-parent’s actions are particularly contemptuous, a judge may order fines or even jail time for violating the visitation order.
If you are lucky, you may never have to worry about your ex-spouse violating the terms of a visitation order. Nonetheless, violations sometimes occur. By understanding both the consequences of violating an order and your options, you can better plan for asserting your parental and legal rights.