What can my friend do if his ex violates court order? 2 Answers as of May 25, 2011

My dear friend is in a bind and heartbroken. He has 4 kids (3 teens) a very good job but his divorce stripped him of everything he owns and loved, including 2 of his kids. The mother is bitter - she had cancer years ago, has recovered and is healthy but convinced the court she was terminally ill (the court entitled her everything). She is unhappy and is taking everyone down with her. The court established kids could visit the dad 2 weekends a month but mom has breached this court order for months. He has not been able to see or talk to his daughter in months; she won't let the kids talk to him on the phone. He feels helpless because he almost went bankrupt paying for attorney fees during the divorce (she wanted a trial, refused all out of court proposed settlements). Her parents have a lot of money and can afford legal fees; he's broke. What can my friend do to keep her from breaching the court agreements over kid’s visitation? Additionally, my friend has been kept out of the college application process - he recently learned from his 9 year old where his 18 year old will go to college in a few months. He is a very good father, lives in the same town as his kids because he loves them more than anyone in the world, enduring a killing 20-hour commute to work every week. Is there anything he can do without getting in debt with legal fees?

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Glenn E. Tanner
Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
He can try calling the police when he shows up for the next visit.Often the police won't get involved. He can then document the violations of his visitation time and warn her, in writing, not to violate the next time. Show up and if she violates move the court to find her in contempt. The court may hand slap her once or twice but by the third violation should hold her in contempt.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/25/2011
Seattle Divorce Services
Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
Your friend can file a motion to hold the ex in contempt of the parenting plan. He can prepare the motion himself, but he might consider paying an attorney to at least draft the papers for him. He could also check with his local county bar association to see if there are any volunteer legal clinics in his area.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/25/2011
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