Ideally, when couples get divorced, they have discussed the details and execution of a parenting plan. If all has been handled appropriately and lawfully, disputes should be minimal and the only reason that’s left for you to engage with each other is to exchange your children at the designated handover time.
However, bad blood often spills over into the day-to-day affairs of how you see fit to parent versus how your ex does. A parenting plan fashioned in the throes of divorce runs the risk of being violated as time moves on and lives change. So what happens if you or your ex violates a parenting plan? First, let’s explore how this can happen.
How Are Parenting Plans Violated?
Often it will start with one parent disregarding the general parenting plan by not carrying out his/her mandatory responsibilities. An example of this is a parent who fails to drop off or pick up the child at the agreed time.
Sometimes it is simply a mounting number of small, agreed accommodations to the parenting plan made by both parents. That can result in some mutated version of the parenting plan that is being implemented, but isn’t really acceptable to either party.
Leading on from this, this can include any actions that do not contribute to the child’s well-being. For example, parenting lifestyle choices that are not in the child’s best interests contribute to the violation of a parenting plan.
Which school the child should attend, any daily activities and where the child is to be raised are all issues that should be covered in the parenting plan. This doesn’t make it watertight, though, as things may change over time and parents have to adapt to changes in life.
Matters escalate when a spouse starts flouting the visitation rights, making handovers difficult by being late, not showing up at all, or preventing access. A child being taken without notice is a more serious violation of a parenting plan.
This can be on account of your spouse wishing to move states – and perhaps leaving it to the last possible minute to tell you about it, or simply because the parent is not adhering to the plan at all.
What To Do When A Parenting Plan Is Violated?
It’s essential to keep your side of the street clean and keep your child’s best interests at heart. No child enjoys being caught in the middle of a fallout between their parents – no matter their age.
If transgressions of a clear parenting plan are increasing, then the first step is to keep a record of late handovers, inappropriate lifestyle behaviors, and the like. This will allow you to channel your frustrations into documented evidence and make it less of a ‘he said, she said’ issue, should you come before a judge.
Before legal intervention, almost all parenting plans require the parties to attempt to resolve their differences at mediation. Here you can introduce any witness statements or hard evidence you have of the parenting plan violations, if you intend to correct the course. Showing that you mean business and take your role as co-parent seriously shows concern on your part and helps you with healthy boundary-setting.
If, on the other hand, you are the parent who has violated the parenting plan for reasons beyond your control, i.e., you need to move away for work, you can’t afford custody, support, or you acted recklessly and now your ex has you cornered, it’s vital to get professional, legal help.
It’s Important to Follow Your Parenting Plan
Violation of a parenting plan needs immediate attention. The consequences of not following a parenting plan are far more severe, effectively making you in contempt of court. This can lead to revoking custodial rights, civil penalties, heavy attorney’s fees, and unnecessary stress for the child.
Seek out legal guidance from professionals who know where you’re coming from. At Divorce Lawyers For Men, we understand how parenting plans can become complex for all parties involved. Mediation and an amendment to your parenting plan is the best possible outcome to prevent any further violations of a parenting plan that is perhaps past its sell-by date.
With your child’s best interests at heart, we are ready to fight for your rights as a father.
We offer a 30-minute consultation if you need further advice on how to handle a parenting plan violation. You’ll be glad to have us in your corner.