Developing a parenting plan is often one of the most emotionally wrenching and time-consuming tasks a couple must complete during their divorce. Once they establish where the children will live and how much time they will spend with the other parent, it could be infuriating if the co-parent does not abide by the plan. The children also suffer if they cannot count on their parents to adhere to their expected schedule.
If your co-parent is out of compliance with your parenting plan, you could take legal action against them. A Red Bank child custody enforcement lawyer could explain your legal options and help you get your co-parent to cooperate with the plan for your children’s benefit. Reach out to a qualified child custody attorney today for a case review.
When a court issues a parenting plan with a divorce decree, it is an enforceable court order, even if the parents devised it themselves. Once the court issues it as an order, parents must comply with it.
Parents could violate the order in various ways. Sometimes an incident might seem minor, but cumulatively, violations prevent the other parent and the child from settling into a routine and being able to rely on the agreed schedule. Examples of custody violations include:
Parents who notice non-compliant behavior should document it in case legal action to enforce a custody agreement becomes necessary.
Communication and negotiation are the best ways to resolve any family matter. If a co-parent violates a custody order, a conversation is in order before taking the problem to a Red Bank child custody enforcement attorney. However, if the violations are persistent or threaten the child’s safety, going to court might be the most effective and appropriate next step.
A motion to compel compliance with a custody order is an option when a co-parent is not responsive to requests to abide by the parenting plan. A seasoned child custody enforcement lawyer could file the motion with a Red Bank court, and the court will hold a hearing on the matter that both parents must attend.
The motion must specifically describe the co-parent’s violations and should set forth how those violations are harming the children. A judge will evaluate the violations, question the coparent about their reasons for non-compliance, and assess whether enforcing the parenting plan is appropriate.
A court has the option to modify the plan if the non-compliant parent has a legitimate excuse. If the court does not find a good reason for non-compliance, it could fine the non-compliant parent, require them to pay the co-parent’s attorney fees, and add time to the co-parent’s visitation schedule to make up for time lost.
Sometimes violations of custody orders are criminal offenses. For example, Tennessee Code §39-13-306 makes custodial interference a crime. A co-parent may not interfere with custody by removing a child from the state or detaining the child in the state with the intention of depriving the other parent of the child’s custody.
Even if the co-parent’s conduct does not rise to the level of custodial interference, a parent could ask the court to consider finding a non-compliant co-parent in contempt. A contempt motion is a serious matter, and a parent should not request it without good reason. However, a contempt motion could be appropriate if:
An experienced legal professional could advise a parent whether a contempt motion is the best way to handle a specific situation.
The parent seeking a contempt order must prove that the offending co-parent knew the terms of the parenting plan, did not adhere to it, and had no reasonable excuse for non-compliance. If a judge finds a parent in contempt, they could face fines and even jail time.
Routine is always important for children, especially after a divorce. Children might get anxious if they cannot rely on a parent to adhere to a set schedule.
If your co-parent is violating your parenting plan, speak with a Red Bank child custody enforcement lawyer. They could review your circumstances and suggest the most effective legal remedies for you and your children. Call today.