For many people, the most challenging part of divorce is dividing time with their children. Once the divorce is final and the former spouses begin co-parenting, it is no surprise that child timesharing (custody and visitation) issues are frequent. When your co-parent is not cooperating with your parenting timeshare arrangement, consult an attorney about taking legal action. Timesharing (custody/visitation) agreements are court orders and legally enforceable.
Negotiations are almost always the best place to start when dealing with custody issues. However, if negotiations fail, a Boca Raton timeshare (child custody/visitation) enforcement lawyer could take the matter to court.
A Child Has the Right to a Predictable Schedule
It is tough on children when their parents live apart. The parenting plan and timesharing schedule gives the children a reliable routine so they can count on seeing each parent at specific times.
Unfortunately, parents sometimes allow bitter feelings with each other to play out in the way they handle their timesharing. Perhaps the children are never ready for pick-up, or they never get back from their visits on time. When parents act out and intentionally inconvenience each other, the children get hurt.
A parent should document any deviations from the timesharing schedule and discuss them with the co-parent, emphasizing the need for the children to have a consistent structure. If the co-parent consistently fails to meet their obligation to comply with the timesharing (custody/visitation) agreement, speak to a Boca Raton lawyer about your enforcement options. In many cases, a call to the co-parent’s attorney about the persistent non-compliance solves the issue.
Enforcing the Timesharing Agreement in Court
Legal action is appropriate when the co-parent remains uncooperative after discussions and other attempts are unsuccessful to resolve timesharing (child custody/visitation) disputes and other parenting plan disagreements. A Boca Raton attorney representing a parent could file a motion with the court to enforce the timesharing (child custody/visitation) order, including a motion for contempt.
The court will hold a hearing, and both parties can present their side of the story. When the non-compliant parent has no reasonable excuses for their failure to abide by the parenting plan, the court has several remedies, including the following:
- Providing the other parent make-up parenting time
- Ordering the non-compliant parent to take parenting classes
- Assessing court costs against the non-compliant parent
- Ordering the non-compliant parent to pay the attorney fees and costs
Sometimes a court finds a non-compliant parent in contempt of court and assesses fines, penalties, and even jail time.
There are risks with bringing a motion to compel compliance with a court order. When the co-parent presents legitimate-sounding reasons why they have not been complying, the court could order the complaining co-parent to pay attorney fees. When the court believes the parent bringing the motion is being unreasonably inflexible or trying to harass the co-parent, the judge could enter an order chastising the complaining parent which could be used as a potential basis for a petition for modification.
What To Do When a Co-Parent is a Risk to Abduct a Child
Sometimes a co-parent threatens or prepares to remove a child from the state or the country. Florida Statutes § 61-45 offers a remedy in these cases.
When the concerned parent brings a motion to enforce the timesharing (child custody/visitation) agreement, their Boca Raton lawyer could ask the court to issue orders preventing the other parent from removing the children. The judge could issue orders requiring:
- The written, notarized consent of both parents to remove the children from the state or the country
- Surrender of the child’s passport
- Placement of the child’s name in the U.S. State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program
- Surrender of any passport in the child’s name issued by a foreign government
- The parent to post a financial bond
The court could order other restrictions that might be effective in a specific case. A parent who violates an order not to remove a child from the jurisdiction commits a crime. Law enforcement will pursue the parent, recover the child, and arrest the offending parent.
Consult a Boca Raton Timeshare (Child Custody/Visitation) Enforcement Attorney About Violations
When your co-parent is not complying with a timesharing agreement or other aspects of the parenting plan, you must address the issue. Ignoring it deprives the children of the stability the parenting plan should provide.
When attempts to reason with the offending co-parent do not resolve the problem, consult a Boca Raton timeshare (child custody/visitation) enforcement lawyer. With their help, you could take your co-parent to court and have a judge decide the proper response. Call today to discuss your options.