Parenting Plans are the agreement that parents enter into either during a dissolution of marriage involving minor children or during a paternity action where the parents share a child or children in common. The goal of this agreement is to provide both parents and more importantly—the child—clarity as to when the child will be spending time with each parent. In order for a Parenting Plan to truly assist families with their co-parenting, this document should be very specific and address all children related topics with as much detail as possible. Ambiguities can and often do lead to issues and disagreement between parents, resulting in the need to submit the matter to court.
However, sometimes even if these documents are properly drafted and specific, one parent may still fail to comply with his or her responsibilities as stated within the parenting plan. One example of this non-compliance is related to the timesharing and/or holiday schedule—wherein one parent is not exercising the time he/she agreed to exercise; or alternatively, one parent is taking more time than they are entitled to.
If you find yourself in the situation where one parent is not fulfilling their portion of the timesharing schedule, you are entitled to seek a modification in order for the agreement to illustrate the timesharing schedule actually being exercised by both parents. Consequently, this may also impact the child support obligation as it is, in part, impacted by the percentage of timesharing each parent is exercising. If on the other hand, you are in a situation where one parent is constantly interfering with your timesharing such as keeping the minor child extra time or failing to execute drop offs on time, you are entitled to seek an enforcement of your agreement.
Ultimately, it is always best that parents attempt to remain civil and respect one another and the agreement they have entered. This is always beneficial for children as it limits their exposure to the negative effects and dynamics of litigation.
However, when non-compliance is such that it begins to disrupt the minor child and results in willful disregard for the Parenting Plan established in the family case, it becomes necessary to address. If you have any questions about parenting plans and how to either modify or enforce them, contact our attorneys.