Law Office of David L. Scott

What if My Ex-Spouse Will Not Follow Child Custody Orders?

If your spouse does not abide by the court-ordered parenting plan, you can go back to court to enforce or modify the parenting plan; you can even ask the court to hold your ex in contempt of court.

Every divorced couple with minor children must have a parenting plan that determines which parent is responsible for the children’s care on which days of the year. Parenting Plans are also necessary between parents of children born out of wedlock. Seeing the parenting plan in print can help you feel able to move on with your life after the divorce; it lets you know which weekends and holidays the kids will be with you, so you can plan kid-friendly activities, and which days they will be with your ex, so you stay busy with work or hobbies in order to avoid being lonely. If you do not follow your parenting plan, you are not only causing an inconvenience for your children and your ex-spouse; you are also disobeying a court order. A Murfreesboro family law attorney can help you resolve disputes with your ex-spouse about an already existing parenting plan.

A Parenting Plan is a Legally Enforceable Court Order

In most cases, parents successfully work out the details of the parenting plan during mediation. Upon finalizing the divorce, the judge signs  a Final Decree of Divorce approving the marital dissolution agreement (about property division) and the parenting plan (about child custody and time-sharing) that the parents drafted with the help of their lawyers. Once the judge signs, though, the parenting plan becomes a part of the Final Decree of Divorce and is a legally enforceable court order.

Parents can deviate from the schedule by agreement and are encouraged to be cooperative with one another. However, it becomes a problem if one parent unilaterally decides  not to exercise their parenting time according to the parenting plan or does not allow you to exercise yours. The courts also base child support calculations, in part, on the number of days per year that the children spend with each parent.

If the problem is simply that your ex keeps flaking on his parenting time, keeping the children from Saturday evening until Sunday evening instead of Saturday morning until Sunday evening because he is tired after a long week of work, the best thing to do is go to court to request modification of the parenting plan. If your ex withholds the children from you and will not allow you to exercise your parenting time, the court can hold him in contempt of court, which can include monetary penalties and even jail time. If the problem is that the parenting plan no longer works with your new work schedule or your children’s extracurricular activities, the best thing to do is to go back to court to officially modify the parenting plan.

Contact David L. Scott About Enforcing and Modifying Parenting Plans in Tennessee

Contact David L. Scott in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or call (615) 896-7656 to set up a consultation.

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