Divorcing parents must develop a parenting plan describing where the children will live, how much time they will spend with the other parent, and similar issues. If the children will live with one parent most of the time, the other parent gets visitation—also called parenting time.
Sometimes non-residential parents find that their ex-spouse or children do not comply with the parenting plan, and they miss out on parenting time. In other cases, a non-residential parent might not show up for the children as scheduled, causing hardship to the residential parent, and disappointing the children. Sometimes there are concerns about the parent’s conduct during parenting time.
A parenting plan is a court order, and it is legally enforceable. If compliance with your parenting plan is an issue for any reason, consult a seasoned family attorney. They will listen to your story and devise a legal strategy to resolve the issue. With the help of a Red Bank visitation lawyer, you could reach a solution that promotes your children’s best interests and offers you peace of mind.
The parent who lives with the children at least 50 percent of the time is called the primary residential parent, and the other parent is the non-primary or alternate residential parent. Tennessee Code § 36-6-106(a) favors splitting parenting time as equally as possible, recognizing that work schedules and other factors might prevent a 50/50 split.
The traditional standard parenting time arrangement allows the non-primary residential parent to have the children overnight on alternate weekends while school is in session, for two weeks during the summer, and for half of the other school holidays. This arrangement still works well for many parents, but families are free to adjust parenting time to allow the non-residential parent as much contact with the children as possible, and many courts encourage them to do so.
Sometimes a parent’s conduct could result in less parenting time. Courts can limit parenting time if a parent has been neglectful, abusive, violent toward the ex-spouse, or suffers from mental health or substance abuse disorders. In most cases, a court would require supervised visitation rather than deny a parent access to a child. A parent who wishes to restrict a former spouse’s access to a child should consult an experienced visitation lawyer in Red Bank to investigate their legal options.
Children sometimes do not cooperate with visitation. They might be testing boundaries, acting out, or just having a bad day. Sometimes a child might be responding to abuse or neglect at the other parent’s home.
Parents have a responsibility to comply with the parenting plan, and that includes making the children available for scheduled visits and encouraging a close relationship with the other parent. A parent should never weaponize a child’s reluctance to visit the other parent. Instead, they should probe for a cause, and if it is something the other parent could adapt or change, share it with the other parent or encourage the child to do so.
If the child’s refusal stems from dangerous conditions at the other parent’s home, discuss the situation with a legal professional immediately. Legal options for protecting the children include asking a court to modify a parenting plan. If the situation is an emergency, the law permits parents to get a temporary order preventing the other parent from seeing the child until a court hearing to discuss the allegedly dangerous situation.
If a visitation schedule is not working for some reason, parents could agree to modify it. Because visitation is part of the court-ordered parenting plan, the parents must submit the modified agreement to the court for approval and incorporation into the parenting plan. Courts typically approve changes the parents agree to, as long as they serve the children’s best interests.
If a parent is interfering with the visitation schedule, the other parent could ask a capable Red Bank attorney to make a motion to enforce the current plan. Both parents will go before the judge to describe the situation as they see it. The judge could penalize the non-compliant parent and order them to comply with the plan as written, or the judge could modify the plan.
When you have worked hard to develop a parenting plan that meets your children’s needs, it could be frustrating to find it is not working as well as you hoped. A local legal professional could help you explore your legal options.
You do not have to miss out on parenting time with your children. Nor do you need to tolerate your ex-spouse’s refusal to comply with the court’s orders. Contact a Red Bank visitation lawyer today to resolve issues regarding visitation.