The Co-Parent in my Life Isn’t Honoring Our Parenting Agreement. What Now?
This scenario is very common, unfortunately. You proceed with a divorce, and after things are finalized, your child’s co-parent isn’t following the parenting agreement. This scenario can lead to overwhelm and frustration. It doesn’t have to. We will discuss a few options available to you should this occur in your life.
Common Violations of a Parenting Agreement
Violations vary greatly, depending on the specific language stated in your parenting agreement.
Some common violations include one parent keeping the child longer than the agreed-upon schedule, not allowing the child to speak to the other parent while they are away, refusing to pay child support, and more.
Trying to alienate a child from one of the parents and intentionally or consistently violating set visitation times are also common issues.
Read further to learn your options to protect yourself and your children.
Hold Up Your End of the Parenting Agreement
It is important to remember that regardless of the other parent’s actions, you are holding up your end of the agreement. These actions provide additional proof that you are willing to cooperate and want to follow the parenting agreement but that you need further clarification or assistance with the co-parent in holding up their end of the deal.
It is important to have thorough documentation of the issues you are facing with the co-parent. If they are not following the parenting plan and you have documented proof through texts or calls, this can benefit you. Document each time the agreement is not followed as it happens, rather than trying to recall from memory. You can discuss this with your mediator or attorney and let them see a clear picture of the shortcomings you are dealing with and what you wish to resolve.
Contempt of Court
A final option may be to alert the courts that the co-parent isn’t following the parenting agreement and therefore are in contempt of court. Contempt of court is a serious issue and one that courts won’t take lightly. Remember that it is in the children’s best interest to have a clearly followed plan so as not to disrupt their lives. The children’s best interest is what all courts will put as the top priority, so if they see that their plan isn’t being followed, they may choose to take legal action against those not following the plan.
This idea is also why it is crucial for you to follow the parenting agreement. The other parent may argue that you are not following the plan to defend themselves, so you can refute these statements by having proof that you are holding up your end of the agreement.
What is the Punishment for Contempt of Court?
Each violation typically involves a set amount of hours of time incarcerated, community service, or other punishments. The severity of the punishment will vary depending on the issues.
Court costs and fees will also add up and are generally paid by the parent that is guilty of contempt. This generalization may mean that the parent in violation would be responsible for all fees associated with court proceedings, including lawyer’s fees. However, this is at the court’s discretion, and there are typically no guarantees.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that involves a skilled and neutral third party to help with issues that arise where two parties can’t come to an agreement. It begins with both parties explaining where the problems lie and relying on a trained and neutral third party to facilitate productive conversations to allow for an agreement to be reached.
Mediation can take several sessions to complete. People going through a divorce find the process appealing because it is less formal than sitting in a courtroom and it allows each party to discuss their issues or frustrations more openly. The mediator is trained to help each party get to the root of their problems and compromise until they reach an agreement each Party is comfortable with.
Mediation is typically less costly than court proceedings, which also lends to its appeal. Some couples will choose not to enter into court proceedings to sift through frustrating issues and avoid the hassle. Mediation provides a great option to still rely on a professional without the intrusiveness of a courtroom.
Work with an Experienced and Dedicated Family Law Lawyer and Mediator
Divorce and the matters surrounding it after it’s been finalized can be incredibly frustrating. With the right people at your side, you can avoid unnecessary stress. Our team becomes an advocate for you in looking for peaceful solutions and we help you navigate your divorce, providing you a peace of mind.
We offer a free case evaluation to discuss what issues you are faced with and how we can help. We offer mediation and/or representation as consultants to discuss what is best for you and how to proceed based on your specific situation.
Call our office today at (213) 351-1000 to begin the process. We have years of experience in helping parents ensure their child’s best interests are taken care of, so they can get back to living their lives. A peaceful divorce and a peaceful life after divorce is possible. Let us help you ensure that happens. We look forward to serving you and your children.