What Can I Do If My Ex is Not Abiding By Our Parenting Plan?

A woman sits between a young girl and a young boy on a bench in a secluded wood. They are facing away from the camera.

When you share a child with an ex partner, your parenting plan is your governing document that will direct the interactions between you and your child as well as you and your coparent. Therefore, when this document is violated it can cause a large disruption in both the child’s life as well as your own. If your coparent has violated your parenting plan ensure you seek counsel from an experienced Pensacola Child Custody Attorney to guide you through this process.

Violations of a parenting plan may come in many forms. However, the most common is when a parent neglects the timesharing portion of the plan. A parent may withhold the child from the other parent, intentionally be late to a set exchange, continuously change the schedule, or refuse to allow communication to occur between the child and parent. Each of these actions can violate the parenting plan, and moreover, can cause harm to the wellbeing of your child. With Florida’s clear stance of shared parenting, and active involvement of each parent in the child’s life, violations regarding contact with the child are considered serious and the court’s response can also be a heavy burden to equalize the harm caused. However, the court does not allow you to seek self help in the form of withholding child support payments or also withholding the child. Instead, you must seek court action to enforce your previously ordered parenting plan.

Therefore, you and your Pensacola Child Support Attorney will draft and file a Motion for Contempt and Enforcement. This motion will provide the court with the valid and enforceable parenting plan, the details of the violations of this plan, and the remedies sought. The parent who withheld the child may also present evidence as to the reasoning behind their intentional violation. However, if the court finds there to be no legal justification, such as the health or safety of the child, for the violation they will take appropriate action to remedy the situation.

Under Florida Statute 61.13, “when a parent refuses to honor the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan without proper cause, the court” will calculate the amount of time the parent was denied and award extra time to that parent to compensate for the time lost with the child. The court may take further action in the form of requiring the violating parent to pay court costs and attorneys fees of the other parent, attend a parenting course, perform community service, bear the financial costs of exchanging the child, or modify the parenting plan to promote the best interest of the child. Finally, the court may hold the offending parent in contempt of court, meaning the parent violated a court order. If found in contempt, the parent may be required to pay extra fines, or serve time in jail for their offense.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a parent to violate a parenting plan. Therefore, it is important to understand what your rights are regarding these violations and the methods in which you may seek to enforce your court ordered agreement. Speak to a knowledgeable Pensacola Child Custody Attorney today to ensure you are informed and protected moving forward.

Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-999-5857 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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