Question: My ex and I have a beautiful son. After we separated, we both decided to stay in Doylestown because that’s where both of our families are and where my son’s school is located. We were able to agree on a custody arrangement without going to court. We both decided that 50/50 shared custody was best for our son. Everything has been okay thus far, but recently, there have been a few incidents that worry me. On a few days when I was supposed to pick my son up from school, my ex would text me that he already got our son from school and that he would bring him home the next day. We have discussed this issue and he said that he wouldn’t do it again without telling me first. However, he just did it again last week. How can I stop him from doing that? Isn’t that illegal? Should I call the police if he does it again? What can I do to stop that?
Answer: Unfortunately, your ex can pick your son up without telling you because there is no court order for custody in place. Without a custody order, your ex is equally entitled to custody of your son as you are. Though it may be irresponsible, it is not illegal for him to pick up your son even though it was your day under your agreement with him. Even if you called the police, it would not make a difference. The police would not get involved because there is no custody order and your ex did not do anything illegal.
If this is a pattern that affects your time with your son, you really should talk to a Doylestown custody lawyer about what you need to do, such as filing a custody complaint. A Doylestown custody lawyer may also discuss an emergency custody complaint, which allows the judge to address the issue of pick-up or any other issues while you and your ex are going through the custody case before a custody order is determined.
If your ex deviates from the schedule after the custody order is determined, i.e., picks up your son on your days, he would be violating the custody order. There may be serious consequences for your ex, i.e., you may file a motion for contempt with the court, and the court may modify the custody order.