A parenting plan exists to list the responsibilities of each parent, where a child lives, how parents make decisions and solve disputes, and how parents communicate when they are living separately and are each raising their child. If a parent is willfully and consistently violating the court orders put in place, this needs to be addressed. An experienced child custody attorney in Kansas City, KS, is an exceptional asset when determining how to handle these difficult situations.
You and your co-parent may have negotiated a parenting plan through mediation, or you may have had a parenting plan determined by the court. Either way, the final agreement was entered as a court order, and it is now legally enforceable.
It can be frustrating or worrying when the parenting plan is not followed, but it’s important to work with and communicate with your co-parent to determine how to avoid these complications in the future. When a custody order has just been created, parents may need time to adjust. However, if a parent is intentionally refusing to follow the plan, and continually violates the order, you may need to file for contempt of court or take other actions to properly enforce or modify the order.
What Is Considered a Violation of a Parenting Plan?
Not every mistake in following the plan is considered a violation. If you believe that a co-parent is violating the agreed-upon order, it’s important to talk with an attorney prior to taking legal action. In many cases, the conflict can be resolved outside of court, which will be easier on both the parents and the child. Filing for contempt of court against a co-parent for missteps may not be seen favorably by the family court.
Examples of potential violations of a parenting plan by a parent include:
- Consistently and intentionally picking up or dropping off a child later than the expected time
- Failing entirely to drop off a child at the expected time
- Attempting to turn a child against the other parent so a child refuses visitation time with the other parent
- Having the child stay overnight when this is not in the parenting plan
- Planning fun activities with a child during the other parent’s pick-up or visitation period
When these violations are intentional and either consistent or severe, this is a serious violation of a custody order.
How Can You Handle an Intentional Violation?
Intentional parenting plan violations can result in contempt of court proceedings, which may carry consequences for custody and parental rights or even criminal prosecution. Criminal prosecution may occur in cases where the noncompliant parent tried to leave the state or country with the child. An attorney can help you determine how to approach the unique situation you face.
When you file for contempt of court, your co-parent will be required to explain why they violated the parenting plan. If they do not have good cause, the court will likely find that they were in contempt of court. The court may require the parent who violated the order to:
- Follow the parenting plan.
- Pay a fine for the violation.
- Allow the other parent to have more parenting time with the child to make up for the violation.
- Take a mandatory class on parenting.
- Go to co-parenting counseling with the other parent.
- Attend hearings to check in on parenting plan compliance.
- Pay the other parent’s reasonable attorney fees and court costs needed to file the motion.
- Pay the cost of counseling for the other parent and the child to reconnect.
Consequences may also include:
- The custody order and parenting plan may be modified, leading to the loss of the noncompliant parent’s custody.
- In cases where a severe violation has occurred, the parent may lose their parental rights and face criminal prosecution.
Q: How Do You Deal With an Uncooperative Co-Parent?
A: Co-parenting requires communication and cooperation from both parents. When one parent is uncooperative, it can make it impossible to effectively co-parent. If your co-parent is acting rudely but remaining within the bounds of the parenting plan, you may want to discuss the issues with them or mediate the issues with a third-party mediator.
However, if a parent is repeatedly and purposefully violating the court-ordered parenting plan, you may want to discuss options for enforcement with an attorney. You may also want to discuss modifying the court order, as co-parenting may not be the form of shared custody that is most beneficial for your family.
Q: What Happens If You Are Not Following the Parenting Plan in Kansas?
A: An intentional violation of a parenting plan could result in:
- Contempt of court proceedings
- Loss of custody
- Jail time
- Involuntary termination of parental rights
- Criminal prosecution
Violation of a parenting plan by failing to pay child support could result in significant financial penalties, like garnishment of wages or asset seizure.
Q: How Do I Enforce My Parenting Plan in Kansas?
A: If there is an intentional violation of the parenting plan, either repeated or severe, you can file for contempt of court with the help of an attorney. This can hold your co-parent accountable for their actions. For minor or accidental violations, it may be better to talk with your co-parent about how you can help, or you might mediate the situation with the help of a third party.
In a more serious situation, such as parental kidnapping, where a co-parent violates a parenting plan and you believe your child may be in danger, you should contact law enforcement.
Q: At What Age Can a Child Refuse to See a Parent in Kansas?
A: A child is only able to refuse to see a parent or choose where they live when they are 18 and no longer a child. Before they turn 18, the child’s wishes are one factor that the court considers when determining custody. The court may listen to a child’s wishes, but it is not required to follow them, especially if their wishes contradict their interests. The closer a child is to the age of 18, the more likely a Kansas court is to give weight to their custody wishes.
Contact Stange Law Firm
If your co-parent is refusing or failing to comply with a court-ordered parenting plan, contact the compassionate and dedicated attorneys at Stange Law Firm. We understand how frustrating and stressful this situation can be, and we want to help you determine if modification, mediation, contempt of court, or other options are most beneficial for your family’s unique situation.