When One Parent Refuses to Follow the Parenting PlanMarybeth Sampsel
One of the most frustrating situations I see clients dealing with is the situation when one parent refuses to follow the parenting plan. Often this occurs with small things. The other parents cancels scheduled visits at the last minute, or habitually returns the children late. It may come in the form of repeated requests to meet somewhere more convenient for the other spouse. But whatever form it takes, it breeds frustration and anger.
A violation of the parenting plan is punishable by contempt of court and can be a criminal offense. This is a very severe punishment and means that the offending parent can be arrested and fined up to $500 or imprisonment in the county jail. As you can imagine, given the severity of what I just described, taking such action is a major step. But it does provide a powerful stick to use against the other parent.
If your child’s other parent has kept him for longer than is allowed by the plan, you can ask the court for an order holding that parent in contempt of court. With that order, it should be possible to get the police involved who can help return your child to you.
Whenever a client tells me of situations like this, I always recommend that they start keeping a diary of all such events. Recording what the parent did, and in what way they violated the plan. If you do end up asking the court for a contempt order, being able to show that this behavior is a pattern and not just a single incident can go a long way to returning your children to you. As always, if you have any questions about your specific situation, please call me today and schedule an appointment so we can discuss your difficulties.