A parenting plan outlines how you and your co-parent will share the custody and care of your children. It should specify the parenting schedule, decision-making authority, communication methods and other aspects of co-parenting.
However, sometimes your co-parent may not follow the plan as agreed. For example, they may:
- Repeatedly fail to show up for their scheduled parenting time
- Cancel or change their visits at the last minute
- Interfere with your parenting time
These actions can be frustrating, hurtful and harmful to you and your children. They can also violate your legal rights and the court-approved parenting plan.
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do. Addressing these issues early on could help you deal with this situation.
Try to communicate calmly
The first step is to try to communicate with your co-parent about the problem respectfully, politely and cooperatively. Communication is essential for effective co-parenting and resolving conflicts. You should inform your co-parent about how their actions affect you and your children and ask them to explain why they are not following the parenting plan. They may have a valid reason for not following the parenting plan, such as a medical emergency, a work conflict or a personal crisis. Regardless, you should remind them of their legal obligations and responsibilities under the parenting plan and the court order. You may also benefit from documenting any phone or email records or any agreement you reach with your co-parent in writing when you need to present them in court.
Modification to the plan
If your co-parent continues to neglect the parenting plan without a valid reason, a negotiation for a temporary or permanent modification to the plan might be in order. This would require showing a significant change in circumstances since the last order and that an adjustment may benefit your children.
You could also consider filing a contempt motion with the court to prevent the parent from violating the plan any further. Consequences could include fines, mandatory parenting classes or other thorough matters as determined by the court.
Ultimately, the goal is to protect your children’s interests and foster a healthy co-parenting relationship. Achieving such a goal means trying to communicate with your co-parent and finding a solution that works for you and your children.