When a couple separates or divorces, and there are children involved, it can become a frustrating and tense situation to be involved in for everyone. A violation of the parenting plan can lead to custody changes and the violating parent being held in contempt of court.
We understand child custody cases can be highly stressful. To help you during this difficult time, we have compiled a list of tips to help you resolve any parenting plan issues you’re currently dealing with, so you can get back to parenting your child productively and healthily.
Tips for Resolving Parenting Plan Violations
A court-approved parenting plan is essential because otherwise, it can be challenging to enforce equal rights for both parents. When a parenting plan isn’t being followed, you can take steps to help resolve the issue.
Review and Follow the Most Recent Parenting Plan
There are various reasons that a parenting plan may change, so it’s vital that before you pursue any legal action, you make sure you are following the most recent court-ordered parenting plan. During this time, you must also adhere to the most up-to-date parenting plan, even if the other parent isn’t. If you end up back in court, a judge will look just as unfavorably on you not following the parenting plan as they will your ex-spouse.
It is important to note, though, if at any time you feel your child is in physical danger while they are in the care of the other parent, you should call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
Speak With a Lawyer
After you have ascertained whether or not the other parent follows the most recent parenting plan, you should call a lawyer. Also, if any portions of the parenting plan are unclear or confusing, a lawyer can help you make sense of it. Consulting a family law attorney for issues such as this can often save you money, stress, and time.
This is also an excellent time to provide documentation of your accusations to your lawyer so they can review them, as well as the existing parenting plan, to see if you have a case.
Go to Mediation
Most parenting plans include information on mediation in the event an issue arises. This is often the first step before going to court to have a parenting plan modified. If the parenting plan does not state if a specific mediator should be used, you and the co-parent can choose one together or ask the court to appoint one for you.
File Paperwork With the Court System
If mediation is not an option, the next step is to file paperwork with the court. This paperwork is called a “Motion to Show Cause” and includes a brief and an affidavit that asks the court system to schedule a hearing to discuss the parenting plan violation.
Wait for Other Parent’s Response
After the paperwork is served to the other parent, they have 14 days to file a written response to the motion. When the other parent responds, the parent who initially filed the paperwork with the court will also get a copy of the response. Their response should include why they disagree with the information contained within the original motion.
Go to Scheduled Court Hearings and Stick to the Facts
Once a hearing is scheduled, the two parties will meet in a courtroom to go over the violation. At this hearing, you will only go over the information contained within the original motion and the response from the other parent.
Follow the Judge’s Orders Exactly
Once the judge presiding over the hearing makes a decision based on the information provided, make sure you follow the judge’s ruling. The judge may recommend mediation, so the parents involved can develop a new parenting plan that works for the child and parents. If the other parent still does not follow the plan in place, you’ll want to speak to a lawyer again.
In situations where a parent still violates a court-ordered plan, the case can become more complicated. Having a lawyer to help you navigate the entire journey will help you.
Partner With an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are experiencing a divorce and unsure about all of the child support and custody laws, we’re here to help. Contact the offices of divorce attorney Hunter Fowler today, so you don’t have to go through this journey alone. He’s here to listen and guide you through the legal process and win the best possible outcome for you.