A parenting plan is an agreement between parents that outlines the custody of their children and covers practical arrangements such as who has the children on which days. A parenting plan will also cover the decision-making process for the children’s education, health care, religious training, and other life decisions.
Generally, parents that are able to work together to create their parenting plan are more likely to stick with that plan. However, if a divorcing couple is unable to come to an agreement, a court will have to intervene, making it more likely that one or both parents may violate the terms of the parenting agreement.
If your ex is not following your parenting plan — perhaps by denying you access to your children or trying to alienate your children from you — there are some steps you can try to take to remedy the situation:
1. Keep detailed records of parenting plan violations.
Keep a parenting time calendar and note any incidents where the other parent failed to follow the plan. Be sure you record the details in case you need them in court. Keeping tabs on your ex’s social media posts can also provide you with dated evidence of when he or she was not following your parenting plan agreement.
2. Try to work it out outside court.
Instead of running to court right away, try to work with your ex to improve your communication. Sometimes a simple adjustment to your parenting plan will solve the problem. Mediation is also a good option if you need help to resolve your issues. Having your attorney send a letter detailing the violations to your ex and his or her attorney may remedy the problem; at the least, it will put them on notice that you expect the parenting plan to be followed.
3. Go to court.
Sometimes the cooperative approach is not effective. This is when you need to consider taking your ex to court to enforce the terms of your parenting plan. Your attorney can file a motion asking the court to enforce the plan and penalize your ex for failure to comply. Under New Jersey law, you also have the right to file a criminal complaint for interference.
If the court finds that one parent is being deliberately denied parenting time with their child, they can order temporary or permanent changes to the parenting plan, which could even include changing custody if a judge finds that it is in the best interest of the child to do so.
At Murphy & Cistaro, we are not only concerned with your divorce today but also with your quality of life long after your case is over. Your family law issues deserve to be managed with dignity and respect. You can prepare to civilly resolve your divorce, heal, and move on with your life with a legal team that has helped individuals all over New Jersey to heal and prosper. Contact us today for your free consultation.