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Family Law

My ex is not following the parenting plan. What can I do?


I was just served with papers for divorce or paternity. What is going on?
What is involved in a divorce or paternity case?
Can my ex take my kids away from me?
How much will child support be?
How will we divide our property and debts?
Can I get maintenance or alimony?
My ex is not following the parenting plan. What can I do?
How can I change my parenting plan?

You have a number of options available to you depending on the circumstances of your case. The first option is to speak with the other parent directly and address the issue between the two of you. Perhaps in your case this is not an option, but if it is possible then you could resolve the issue without involving anyone else in your private life. This is typically the best option if it is possible.

If you find that you cannot communicate with the other parent without the conversation turning into an argument, try using e-mail. Verbal communications and text messages permit people to speak what they are feeling as they are feeling it—this is not always the best method of communication. E-mail typically encourages the sender to slow down a bit. Moreover, e-mails can be saved and leave a record of what was said, should it ever become an issue.

Many parenting plans expressly permit law enforcement to enforce the terms of the plan. If your parenting plan includes this language, then you can contact the sheriff’s department or the police department and ask for help enforcing the terms of the parenting plan. An officer would then come out and supervise the ordered custody exchange.

If the parenting plan has already been violated and it is too late to call for law enforcement, then you can file a family access motion. A family access motion tells the court that you have been denied custody or visitation under the terms of your parenting plan without good cause. The court will hear both sides and then enter an appropriate order.

In addition, you may be able to file a motion for contempt. The judgment will most likely order the parties to abide by the terms of the parenting plan. A violation of the parenting plan is a violation of the judgment. If the court finds that a party wilfully disobeyed the judgment without a good reason, then the court has a number of tools at its disposal to remedy the situation and to coerce the disobedient party to follow the judgment.

Finally, you may be able to modify the terms of the judgment if you can show that there is a substantial change of circumstances which would necessitate a change. The other parent’s failure to comply with the parenting plan may constitute a substantial change in circumstances.

If you are having problems with the other parent following the parenting plan, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your options. Contact us and we can discuss your options with you and figure out what would be best in your case.