What Should You Do if Your Ex is Not Following the Parenting Plan?

One of the most frustrating experiences for any divorced or separated parent is to find themselves in a situation where the other parent is not following through with the parenting plan that has been set in place.  Co-parenting is hard work and when one parent decides to do something that breaks the bonds between the child and the other parent or chooses to do things that are not part of the plan, then it not only hurts the other parent but it also hurts the child.  When a father has been granted limited time with the child and the mother is refusing to cooperate as she is supposed to, it can be very frustrating for any father. Unfortunately some parents don’t understand that custody is not about winning or losing, it’s about what’s in the best interest of the child. Keeping the children away from the other parent hurts the kids more than anything. During these situations,  remembering to keep your cool and to not react in a way that that could be determined to be violent or aggressive is the first place that you should start.

 

Understanding Contempt

The first thing that you have to realize if your ex is not following the parenting plan is that the police are not going to gt involved with this matter.  The matter is completely civil and not criminal so you are not going to be getting help from law enforcement for the matter.  There are actually forms that you can look up online if you do not have the money to hire an attorney.

When you represent yourself you have to act and think like a lawyer and remove all emotion from the interactions.  There are no legal ways that your ex needs to make you feel and there is nothing that is “fair” or “right” as those are all judgments.  However, that does not mean that it is impossible for you to do this.  You just have to keep your head on straight and know what you are going to be talking about with the judge.  Reflect all answers to how it is hurting your child for this to go on.  Look at the court documents and use similar language when speaking  to the judge and try to answer any questions with the least amount of words possible. It’s advisable to notate dates, times and specific circumstances that your Ex is violating a parenting plan so you have the proper facts when filing for contempt with the court.

 

Hiring an Attorney

 Hiring an attorney is what most people decide to do because tackling your own legal problems in court can be so tough.  If you are worried about how you can afford a lawyer there should be a family law coordinator in the courthouse.  You can go talk to this individual and get all of the information that you need to find affordable family legal representation.  This person can also help you to understand how to move forward and if you have a case against your ex.  In most cases you are going to have to prove malicious intent on the part of your ex for them to get into trouble.  Depending on the county in which you live, this is something that might be drastically different.  For instance in some counties your ex could be fined or jailed but in others they are basically going to get told not to do it again.  Knowing the area in which you live is going to best be able to help you understand what you should do.  You can ask for your ex to be responsible for your legal fees since they brought on the situation that required you to hire legal representation.  In some cases a judge might award you these fees but in others it might not work out.   If a judge feels that you have more money than your ex or feels as though you are both being petty then it is not something that they are going to do.

 

Hiring a Family Advocacy Group

If you are not in the financial position to hire an attorney, you can always get a free consultation with National Family Solutions. There are qualifying representative that go over your situation and see if it’s a case that they can help with. These types of programs are set up to help families that need help going through a family law proceeding but can’t pay the high cost of retainer fees. A Case Manager will be assigned to you to help you do some of the leg work yourself. For example, you will file and have a third party serve the documents so you don’t have to pay an attorney or law firm to do these two steps. This option works for many parents that need to file custody for the first time, modify a previous custody order or even file for contempt because the other party is not following a parenting plan or court order.

 

 

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