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How can I have my ex honor our custody agreement?

New York, NY |

2 years ago my ex and I signed custody papers which allowed her to move to Rhode Island. It also states that I get the kids for 1 month in the summer in 2x 2 week chunks. She has already stated in emails that she will not be honoring that time even though I have fulfilled my obligation to give her my dates before May 1st. What can I legally do? Documents and proceedings took place in NYS.

Thank you for all the help on this!! As a single father and with my kids out of NY state, I feel helpless when it comes to simply getting my ex to execute the agreement as it stipulates. Yes, the papers were put together and signed and reviewed by a Queens County magistrate at a hearing, but we never went to trial. The section in particular stipulates only that I get 4 weeks in 2x 2 week allotments , and that I need to get her the weeks I intend to take them to her by May 1st. Hope that helps.

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Attorney answers 5


With all due respect to the other lawyers who posted, they are dead wrong on the jurisdiction issue. Assuming the "papers" you signed were incorporated into an order (which obviously needs to be clarified), then New York would have "continuing, exclusive jurisdiction" over any modification and/or enforcement proceeding under the UCCJEA ($$DOM76-A$$@TXDOM076-A+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=EXPLORER+&TOKEN=47408208+&TARGET=VIEW). My suggestion is to schedule a consultation with a NYC Child Custody lawyer (& particular one with experience in inter-state matters) for a full review of your paperwork.

* If you found my answer to be helpful, or the "best answer," please feel free to mark it accordingly.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


Thanks for the UCCJEA clarification. Yes, it would be important that the papers (a consent?) have been incorporated into an Order. It's amazing to me how many people have informal agreements or sometimes even signed consent or mediation agreements that have never had these custody and visitation orders memorialized by the courts. I'll have to keep that in mind.


Presumably YOU had a lawyer help YOU with your divorce or dissolution, not a joint lawyer who was hired by your wife. If so, go to YOUR lawyer. They will know the proper procedure. The first and best thing will probably be for your lawyer to write a letter to your ex and if that doesn't get her to change her mind, your lawyer will likely file a motion in the court to enforce the agreement. A new case will not have to be filed because the cases remain open just for these types of circumstances.

If you don't have your own attorney, check Avvo for a local attorney who practices in the area of domestic relations or contact the local bar association for a referral. You do NOT want to handle this yourself in court.


Under the UCCJEA, Rhode Island family courts will have jurisdiction because the children have resided there over six months. However, the terms and conditions of the New York court and consents regarding visitation are still binding. You should hire a family law attorney in the county where the children reside for enforcement/violation or contempt of the NY order. You should be able to participate in any hearings by telephone without the need to travel to Rhode Island if that is a problem or concern.

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I agree with Mr. Lebowitz. You can use the Avvo find a lawyer tab to locate someone in RI. Good luck! (Also, you should look at whatever your agreement was and note whether or not there is provision there for you to seek counsel fees from her since she is in violation of the agreement. That might be worth pointing out to her before you start the fighting - as a means of discouraging her from perisisting down this road).


Mr bliven is correct, NY would have continued jurisdiction on such a case and as such a violation of that order should properly be filed in the same Court that issued it...

Feel free to contact us to discuss further if need be...

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