What Can I Do if My Co-Parent Doesn’t Return My Child to Me on Time?

close up of a watch on a wrist
May 15, 2020 | Sara Khaki

When going through a divorce, adhering to a visitation schedule can be difficult. What can make the situation increasingly difficult is when your ex has bitter feelings toward you. They may try to refuse visitation of your children or limit your time with them. If your ex violates your visitation rights, there are several legal options you can pursue, including going to the police with your court order.

How to Address Visitation Rights during Times of Crises

My Ex Has Not Returned My Child. Should I Go to the Police Station?

Always try to contact your co-parent before resorting to any legal or police action. Your child’s safety is the highest priority, and a simple call may eliminate your worries.

If you cannot reach your ex, consider the following circumstances:

  • Is your ex frequently late to return your children by the specified time?
  • Is there heavy traffic in your area?
  • How much time has elapsed since the drop-off time?
  • How likely is it that your ex will NOT return your child at all?

If the situation seems urgent, contact a child custody attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you weigh the situation and take the appropriate steps. Talking with an attorney can also help you understand the violation and prevent similar issues from happening in the future.

If the situation is serious and you cannot reach your child custody lawyer, once again consider the circumstances. Do not call the police simply to report a breach in the child custody agreement, as those issues can be resolved later. Right now, the main concern is the child’s safety. If you believe your child is in danger, you may call the police.

What Can I Do after an Incident?

After your child is safely returned, record all incident details and contact a family law attorney. Depending on your situation, you may have different options to handle the previous issue and avoid subsequent incidents. For instance, you can formally inform your co-parent of the violation, participate in conflict mediation, or negotiate custody modifications.

You can also file a Motion for Contempt or Motion for Modification with the court to request make-up time with your children and/or receive primary physical custody if your ex continues to show up late. If your co-parent is continuously dropping off your children late, it may make it difficult to maintain a normal schedule.

In these situations, talking with a well-versed family lawyer is the best way to avoid subsequent custody violations. Even if your attorney does not pursue any legal action, simply discussing your custody issues can help improve your understanding of the situation. The family law attorneys at the Atlanta Divorce Law Group want to hear your concerns. For more information about what you can do if your co-parent doesn’t return your child on time, fill out a contact form online or call our intake team today.

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