Whether unofficially or through the court system, separated parents often create a child parenting plan. Governing everything from medical care to education, the child parenting plan outlines individual rights and responsibilities. But what can you do if the other parent isn’t obeying your child parenting plan?
Make Sure You Have an Official Plan
If your plan hasn’t been through a family court, now is the time to get it finalized. Though a document can be binding between two people without going through family court, it’s exceptionally hard to enforce a parenting plan unless it’s official.
Document Each Incident
Every time your ex disobeys your parenting plan, you should document the date, time, and any witnesses. This documentation is incredibly important, as it will be the foundation of your case if you need to return to family court.
Provide this documentation to your attorney, as they will be able to work with you to resolve the problems.
Escalate If Necessary
Is there an issue you feel presents immediate danger to your child? An ex may bring a child around someone who is deemed dangerous and you may feel as though it’s an unsafe environment. At this stage, you can escalate.
If it’s considered prudent, your lawyer can ask for an emergency exception to your current parenting plan. At this point, an investigation will occur. Most importantly, your child will be removed from any potentially harmful environments.
Go to Court
If your ex hasn’t been obeying the parenting plan and they persist in disobeying it, the only option is generally to go to family court. There the judge will review your case and will attempt to make a satisfactory ruling based on your parenting plan and the child’s best options.
A parent who persistently doesn’t follow a parenting plan may see their days with their child reduced. The neglectful parent may be ordered by the court of law to comply with elements of the parenting plan. You might also be able to negotiate the parenting plan if both you and your ex see ways in which you could meet in the middle.
Violations of a parenting plan can have serious consequences, such as losing custody of a child. The consequences will depend on the severity of the issues raised.
Avoid Common Mistakes
When a child parenting plan isn’t being followed, the first impulse can be to take a retaliatory action. A father could cancel an after-school activity, leading to a mother signing them up for an activity that they had disagreed on. A mother could take the child somewhere that they weren’t supposed to, leading to the father refusing to bring the child to her the next week.
In the heat of the moment, this feels fair. To the court system, two wrongs don’t make a right. You will be more empowered showing up in court as the parent who has not done anything wrong.
At the other end of the spectrum, some people put up with a situation (such as a parent arriving late repeatedly) until hitting a certain breaking point. A situation cannot be resolved unless it’s documented and reported. If a situation is allowed to slide over time, it can simply become the new normal and take more time to resolve.
As with most things, you should consult with your attorney before you make any decisions. Though it may be frustrating to wait for a response, it’s easier to get things done when you are on the side of the courts. If you have any further questions, contact The Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC for the help you need.