A parenting plan created during a divorce is more than a simple agreement between two parents. It is a legally binding document that outlines how parenting time with the children will be divided and who has the right to make decisions about the children. A parent who ignores the terms of the agreement is violating a contract and could be held legally responsible for their actions. How should you respond to a violation of your parenting plan? Should you immediately take your co-parent to court after they break your agreement? Filing a court order is usually not the first step you should take when dealing with a violation.
How Might Your Co-Parent Violate Your Plan?
The first thing that comes to mind with a parenting plan violation is not following your parenting schedule. Your co-parent may be late in dropping off the children or coming to pick them up, which throws off your schedule. However, they could also violate the agreement by making a decision without consulting you first or not following your agreed-upon rules for raising the children, as long as those rules are explicitly stated in the plan.
You should give your co-parent a chance to explain themselves after the first time they break your parenting agreement. There may have been circumstances that were beyond their control or a misunderstanding about the parenting plan. After repeated violations, you need to have a serious conversation about your parenting arrangement. It could be that:
- There has been a change of circumstances that prevents your co-parent from sticking to the plan
- Your co-parent is being lackadaisical in following the plan
- Your co-parent wants to change the plan but has not taken the proper step of requesting a modification
- Your co-parent disagrees with you on what the plan allows
By talking to your co-parent, you may be able to work out the problem without needing to go to court.
You may need to file a motion for contempt of your parenting plan if your co-parent refuses to obey it. You will prepare documentation of how your co-parent has violated the plan, such as a record of the times they were late in bringing the children for an exchange. Your co-parent will be summoned to appear in court, where they can explain their actions. The court will give an order on how to follow the parenting plan, which you both must obey.
Contact a Batavia, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer
Filing a complaint in court is usually the last resort during a disagreement over a parenting plan. Before taking that action, you should talk with a Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., about whether you can settle your differences outside of a court. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-879-9090.