It can be very difficult to deal with a relationship breakdown and even harder when the two individuals actually separate. When children are involved, this can often open a can of worms and be very difficult to rectify. The situation can get even worse, if that were possible, when one person does not comply with parenting orders issued by a court. If you think that this is the case and that your "ex" isn't playing ball, what can you do at this stage?
Before you begin to pursue anything through the courts, take a deep breath and try to look at the situation impartially. It's a good idea to bring in a friend at this stage for another opinion, as you want to be sure that your position is reasonable or not. It can be tough to be impartial, especially as you may still be feeling upset by the whole situation. However, while you are worried about the children, are you sure that bringing a case to the courts would be relevant in this situation and have a chance of success?
Determining Reasonable Behaviour
These questions are important, because the court will ask whether the behaviour of your former partner is reasonable, or not. Sometimes, situations can arise that present difficulties and may get in the way of the court order. If the other party failed to conform or comply, was this just a temporary situation, or were they being unreasonable?
What the Courts Look for
The courts will go into detail to look at any contravention and fundamentally will want to know whether the other person was completely aware that they were in contravention. They also want to know whether any action was taken in good faith, perhaps to try and support the child for some reason. In other words, not everything is black or white.
Sometimes, a child will be adversely affected by the actions of one parent during the separation process. In this situation, they may be reluctant to interact with, or spend time with that person. However, the courts do not accept this as a reason for the adult to behave in one way or the other. Both parents must be proactive in parenting obligations.
It may be possible for you to apply to the court to either enforce existing orders, or to impose additional ones. For example, a new order may insist that the children spend additional time with you, or both parties may be directed to attend a special programme.
Deciding Whether to Proceed
Before you proceed, present all the information to an experienced family lawyer, who will help you determine whether to take action in this case.