What to do, file motion for contempt or use it as evidence?

I have recently filed for custody modification. My x is pretty pissed at me, she’s even been lying to our kids(11 and 8)about me to hurt our relationship. Luckily they have total trust in me so they run and tell me everything she says. Anyway, since she is pretty angry about the papers she received she has now a total b*&%$ when it comes to either me wanting to get the kids extra for anything. So, I was supposed to have them on 9a.m. on Father’s Day and she knew this, she was also aware that it was court ordered b/c it was in our custody agreement. She so conviently decided to take them to the beach for the 1st time in 2 years! I didn’t get the kids till about 4 pm, which I had to go get them bc she said it was out of her way to bring them to me and my wife’s home(this was only 5 min from where she had dropped the kids off). This is just the kind of person I’m dealing with. So…my question is, what would be best for me to do, file a motion for contempt or just use it as evidence as her “bad faith” and “bad paranting” in our modification trial. What exactly is a motion for contempt anyway? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

You may wish to file a motion for contempt, in which your ex will have to appear before the court and explain why she violated the custody order. A motion for contempt is also called a motion to “show cause”, ie the person who the motion is filed against is required to appear and show the court good cause as to why thy violated the order. More likely than not she will not be fined, but admonished by the judge if she is found in contempt.
When you file the motion you should request that the hearing for the motion be held simultaneously with the modification trial.

Is there a timeline for filing the motion for contempt? She doesn’t have an attorney but if I do file for motion for contempt won’t she be able to obtain a court appointed attorney for that? I know that it is different from the modification hearing but would there be a chance that she could use that same court appt attorney for the modification hearing?

If there is a civil contempt issue where there is a potential for jail time your ex will have the option to have counsel appointed. The courts will not appoint attorneys for modification of custody.