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What Happens When One Parent Violates a Parenting Plan?

 Posted on August 16, 2016 in Child Custody

Naperville family law attorneyWhen parents divorce, they separate with a court-approved parenting plan that will guide them on how to co-parent in the future. Some couples are able to draft a plan themselves to which both parties agree during the divorce process, and it is simply approved by the court. In other situations with more conflict, a court may order a parenting plan and require it be followed by both parties. These plans cover a range of topics pertaining to the parent’s children including parenting time, holiday arrangements, the financial responsibilities of each parent, the parenting responsibilities of each parent, and how both parents will communicate with each other about issues relevant to parenting.

The goal of each parenting plan is to review a couple’s unique divorce situation and lay out the best possible future for the children involved while keeping the children’s best interests in mind. Moving forward with a well-crafted parenting plan is vital to successful co-parenting, but issues do arise. What happens in situations where one parent violates the terms of their parenting plan? Divorce attorneys say issues with parenting plans come up frequently, sometimes years after a divorce has been finalized, and there are fortunately many remedies.

When to Seek Help

If you believe your ex is not complying with your court established parenting plan, it is important to first assess the situation. Violations can range in severity, and some issues may be more easily handled through communication with your ex, or help from a mediator or counselor. Say, for example, your ex forgot to pick your son or daughter up from soccer practice after school. While that may be frustrating, dropping the ball once or twice likely does not require legal help. Minor inconveniences should be expected while parenting, and a court will most likely not be open to minor, petty requests. If, however, your ex is depriving you of parenting time, or refusing to uphold their financial responsibilities, there are legal options to pursue.

Legal Options in Illinois

If you believe legal help is needed to remedy your situation and prevent future parenting plan violations, the first step is to file a petition with the court. On this petition, list detailed examples of how your ex has violated your parenting plan. Include specific dates and any relevant information that a court may find helpful. Also, list any attempts you have made to resolve the issue on your own. Most courts encourage divorced parents to first attempt to handle matters themselves before seeking further help.

Once the petition is completed and submitted, the court may decide to take action or decide against further action. There are a number of steps that the court can take, depending on the situation and the best interest of the child or children involved. Possible remedies include:

  • Requiring education on parenting for both parties but at the expense of the party who violated the parenting order;
  • Changing or making additions to the existing parenting plan to make it easier to follow in the future;
  • Requiring counseling;
  • Requiring that the spouse in violation of the plan posts a cash bond or some other security to help ensure they will follow the plan;
  • Allowing additional parenting time to the parent not in violation of the plan; and
  • Requiring reimbursement to one party if the other failed to uphold their financial responsibilities to their children

Dependable Legal Help

If you are struggling with a co-parent who is failing to comply with your court approved parenting plan, the qualified DuPage County divorce attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C., are here to help. We offer cost-effective, aggressive solutions to ensure the best interests of your children are being met. Call 630-352-2240 today to speak to a member of our team.


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