When the courts finally approve your divorce and issue the custody order and divorce decree, you probably thought your days of arguing with your ex were finally done. Sadly, if you share children and wind up with a shared custody arrangement, there will be plenty of opportunities for disagreements in the future.

When the outcome of a divorce disappoints a vindictive spouse, that person may do anything they can to punish their ex. Damaging the relationship with the children or intentionally withholding parenting time in violation of a custody order is one way for a petty ex to try to make your life difficult.

You both have an obligation to uphold the final custody orders

When the courts enter the divorce decree and finalize the custody order, they do so with the expectation that you and your ex will comply with those court orders. Failing to do so may leave your ex vulnerable to significant consequences. However, the courts won’t automatically take action. Instead, you will have to show them that your ex violated the custody order and ask them to make it right.

Don’t start fights, but keep careful records

Sometimes, denying visitation or parenting time can be part of a greater strategy to make an ex seem unstable or dangerous. The other parent could hope that by provoking an angry or emotional response they will get you to make threatening or aggressive statements to them either in the presence of witnesses or in writing via email or text message.

While you should assert your desire to have your parenting time, you should do so firmly but politely. Don’t make threats, and don’t insult your ex. Just point out the facts of the situation. Whether your ex keeps cutting your parenting time short or has begun to outright deny you access to or communication with the children, calmly asserting that you want your parenting time and would like to make up those lost moments can help you build a case for enforcement of the custody order.

How will access enforce custody orders?

As with other court orders, it is possible for the Pennsylvania family courts to hold your spouse in contempt of court for failing to comply with the requirements of a custody order. You may want to ask the courts to adjust the custody order to reflect your ex’s unwillingness to comply with court orders.

Parental alienation or intentionally limiting the relationship between children and one of their parents can produce substantial psychological damage and puts the desires of the parent ahead of the needs of the children. Showing the courts that you put the needs of the kids first may induce them to give you more parenting time or even reverse the current situation, meaning that you will wind up with primary custody while your ex has less parenting time or just visitation.