What Happens When One Parent No Longer Follows the Parenting Plan? - Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis

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What Happens When One Parent No Longer Follows the Parenting Plan?

Unless the other parent takes steps to enforce the parenting plan, nothing happens.  But, if the other parent wants to enforce the parenting plan - what options are available? 

A parenting plan is entered as part of a judgment and becomes an order of the court.  Not following the parenting plan is a violation of a court order.  As a result of the violation, the parent seeking compliance could file a verified motion for contempt asking the court to enforce its order.  The noncompliant parent could be subject to sanctions, including attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the parent who was required to file a motion to enforce the order.  This option is available for violations of both financial and custody/visitation provisions of the parenting plan.

If custody or visitation is denied or interfered with by a parent without good cause, then the other parent may file a family access motion with the court.   A family access motion does not require legal counsel in order to prepare it or file it with the court.  Court clerks will provide an explanation for the procedures for filing a family access motion as well as a form to use in filing the motion.  The specifics of the violation of the parenting plan must be stated in the family access motion.  The noncompliant parent will be served with the motion and a summons to appear in court.   There will be a hearing at which the court will determine whether there has been a violation of the order for custody or visitation without good cause.

Pursuant to either a family access motion or motion for contempt, upon a finding by the court that its order for custody or visitation has not been complied with without good cause, the court shall order a remedy, which may include, but is not limited to:  1) compensatory or make-up time; 2) participation by the parent violating the parenting plan in counseling to educate him/her about the importance of providing the child with a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents; 3) assessment of a fine up to $500 dollars against the noncompliant parent payable to the other parent; 4) requiring the noncompliant parent to post bond or security to ensure future compliance with the court’s access orders; 5) requiring the noncompliant parent to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fees; and 6) ordering the noncompliant parent to pay the cost of counseling to reestablish the parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

A person who chooses not to follow the parenting plan is choosing to violate a court order.   Courts do not look favorably on violations of their orders without good cause.   When a parent no longer follows the parenting plan without good cause, there are remedies available to the other parent, but the parent seeking compliance must take steps to get them.

Penny Robinson is a collaboratively trained St. Louis Family Law Attorney. If you have questions about the collaborative process or changes to a parenting plan, then give her a call. Penny can be reached at (314) 862-4444 or visit her website at http://zermanmogerman.com

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