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When parents decide to live apart, a court issues an order dictating where and with whom the children live most of the time and when the non-custodial parent gets visitation time. Courts encourage parents to develop these plans on their own, but if parents cannot agree, a court will impose a plan in the best interests of the children.
Parenting plans are court orders, and parents have a legal obligation to comply. Adhering to these plans is meant to provide children with needed structure during a challenging time. If your co-parent is not following your parenting plan, consult a West Caldwell child custody enforcement lawyer for advice. Our knowledgeable child custody attorneys can help devise a more workable plan or, if necessary, take your co-parent to court.
When they work as intended, parenting plans allow a child to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents. They also provide the children and their parents with a predictable schedule and routine, which can help children adapt to their parents’ separation. Having a parenting schedule can also help parents establish themselves in their children’s lives individually.
Almost any intentional behavior that inconveniences the other parent or deprives a parent of their time could be a violation of a custody agreement. However, parents need to recognize that unforeseen events occur. It is not an actionable violation if a parent is late picking up the child once or if a child must go to an important appointment during the other parent’s time. However, if a parent is usually late, or if a child’s appointments and activities almost always occur during the other parent’s time, a parent might be non-compliant.
A child custody enforcement attorney in West Caldwell can discuss possible parenting plan violations with the concerned parent. In many cases, a modification could result in a plan that works better for both parents and children.
Sometimes a parent engages in harmful or disruptive behavior that could endanger the child or the other parent. Examples of such conduct include:
Parents should keep track of any significant violations. If the other parent established a pattern of unacceptable conduct, legal intervention might be appropriate.
An experienced lawyer in West Caldwell can advise a parent about the appropriate steps to take regarding custody enforcement. Mediation could provide a less expensive and less stressful solution than going to court. However, if a parent is unwilling to engage in productive conversation, bringing a motion to enforce the custody agreement could be necessary. In addition, if a parent feels their child is in danger, they could involve the police and, once the child is safe, go to court to get appropriate protection.
When a parent will not comply with the custody and visitation agreement, the other parent could bring a motion in court. New Jersey Court Rule 1:10-3 allows one parent to seek to hold the offending parent in contempt of the court’s custody and visitation order. If a judge finds that a parent has not been substantially compliant with the parenting plan, the judge could impose fines and even sentence the offending parent to jail.
Sometimes, a court will modify a parenting plan if one of the parents cannot or will not adhere to it. A judge could shift a child’s primary residence from one parent to another if they believe that doing so supports the child’s best interests.
While going to court might not be everyone’s first choice for resolving custody issues, it sometimes becomes necessary. A custody enforcement attorney in West Caldwell can ensure a parent has a strong case and present persuasive arguments supporting the parent’s position.
If your co-parent is violating the parenting plan you agreed upon, they are breaking the law. Worse, they are failing to put your child’s interests ahead of theirs.
A West Caldwell child custody enforcement lawyer can help you modify your parenting plan or take your co-parent to court if needed. Get a skilled advocate on your side—call today.