If you got divorced from your children’s other parent in Florida, the chances are, you have a parenting plan. Generally, a parenting plan is a plan that instructs former spouses who have children in common on how to proceed with their co-parenting duties. Among other things, a parenting plan spells out which nights a child is supposed to spend with you and which ones the child is supposed to spend with the other parent. After the court approves a parenting plan, both parents are expected to abide by the agreement. Sometimes, parents will choose to put their differences aside for the benefit of their children and follow their parenting plan. However, the unfortunate reality is that in quite a number of cases, one parent may refuse to follow the parenting plan, making things more hostile than necessary.
So, what do you do if the other parent violates your parenting plan agreement? Regardless of whether you are the parent with sole parental responsibility or the one who has been granted time-sharing, your parenting plan agreement must be followed to ensure co-parenting and child care are not fraught with constant challenges.
Examples of Actions That Constitute Violating a Parenting Plan
If your child’s or children’s other parent does any of the following, then they are violating your parenting plan:
- Repeatedly or/and knowingly flouting time-sharing days
- Preventing you from seeing your children as outlined in the parenting plan
- Failing to return your children as per your parenting plan guidelines
- Trying to turn your children against you
If your children’s other parent has violated your parenting plan in any way, keep reading to learn how to address the situation.
Steps to Take if the Other Parent is Not Following the Parenting Plan
If the other parent is not sticking to your parenting plan, below are some steps you can take to rectify that problem:
Document Every Violation
Documenting the other parent’s violations can help you prove that they violated the parenting plan. Therefore, keep records of every instance the other parent has failed to hold up their end of the bargain. For example, if they fail to return your children as per your parenting plan’s guidelines, ensure you document that.
Try to Solve the Issue Outside of Court
If possible, try speaking to your co-parent about their violations so you can come up with a solution outside of court. An experienced attorney can help you write a letter informing the other parent of their violations and why you feel their actions are not in-line with the parenting plan. If you want, your attorney can even write a letter to the other parent asking them to follow the parenting plan or risk facing legal consequences.
File a Motion for Contempt
If trying to reason with the other parent proves difficult, you can choose to file a motion for contempt in court. Generally, this option should be your last resort. Once you file a motion for contempt, your co- parent will have to answer to a judge and possibly face penalties.
Contact a Qualified Child Custody Attorney
If your child’s or children’s other parent has violated your parenting plan, contact one of our qualified child custody attorneys at the Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A., today for help.