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What should I do if the other parent violates our parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written document that outlines the responsibilities of each parent. It’s designed to protect the best interests of your children and help ensure a smooth co-parenting relationship between you and your ex.

This document is legally binding, meaning both parents must abide by its terms. If one parent fails to do so, the other parent has legal recourse and can take action. Continue reading to learn more, then contact Blanchette Law PLLC for personalized guidance from a Tempe child custody lawyer.

what to do if a parent violates parenting plan

Understand the violation

Each parenting plan includes terms that are unique to that case. Typical terms include details about when and where the children will spend time with each parent, who takes care of medical decisions, and how communication will occur.

The details of a violation will depend on the specific terms of the parenting plan, but common examples include:

  • Failing to keep scheduled visitations
  • Refusing to allow contact between the child and the other parent
  • Not providing timely notice of plans or changes
  • Undermining the decisions and authority of the other parent
  • Enrolling the child in an activity without the other parent’s consent

If you suspect the other parent is violating your parenting plan, start by taking a look at the original court-issued documents. The terms of the parenting plan will be outlined here, and you can use this as a reference when taking action.

Document the incident

If your suspicions are correct and you believe that the other parent is in violation of your parenting plan, you’ll want to start gathering documentation. Keep detailed records of each instance, including times, dates, and any witnesses to the event.

It can also be helpful to screenshot any text messages or emails that show that the other parent is disregarding the parenting plan, such as refusing to discuss visitation times. Be sure to keep these records in a safe place so you can easily access them if needed.

Keep in mind that documenting a parenting plan violation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump right into legal action — rather, it’s a way to proactively protect yourself if the situation escalates. In some cases, a simple conversation may be enough to remedy the situation.

Try to communicate with the violating parent

If possible, start by trying to talk with the other parent about their behavior. Let them know that you take the parenting plan seriously, and explain why it’s important for both of you to uphold its terms. You don’t have to be confrontational; instead, focus on creating a positive dialogue that emphasizes your shared investment in ensuring the best interests of your children.
This conversation can be an excellent starting point to explore potential solutions. Many parenting plan violations arise from a genuine misunderstanding or a change of external circumstances that aren’t reflected in the current parenting plan, such as an altered work schedule. If this is the case, you may be able to resolve the issue by agreeing to modify the parenting plan through the family court system.

Consider taking legal action

Unfortunately, not all violations can be solved through mutual collaboration. If the other parent is unwilling to cooperate, you may need to take matters into your hands, and you should contact a family law attorney. A lawyer can help explain your legal rights and advise on the best course of action. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to petition the court to enforce the parenting plan or even seek a modification.

This is where your documentation will be helpful. If you can prove that the other parent is violating the parenting plan, the court will likely intervene on your behalf and compel the other parent to comply with its terms.

When the judge reviews your situation, they will make decisions based on what they believe is in the best interests of your children. This may involve modifying the parenting plan or issuing sanctions against the violating parent.

A family law attorney can help you seek relief

If you’re struggling with parenting plan violations, Blanchette Law PLLC is here to help you find a resolution. We understand the vital role that parenting plans play in preserving relationships between children and their parents, and our Tempe child custody lawyer is committed to protecting your rights. Don’t wait to take action — contact Mrs. Blanchette today at (602) 881-1748 to start exploring your options.

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