Blogs from September, 2022

Most Recent Posts from September, 2022

What if My Child's Co-parent Refuses to Follow the Parenting Plan?


Everyone knows that working with other people can be difficult, especially with the other person doesn’t meet their obligations. Bosses, coworkers, and other professionals can slow down progress.

This problem is amplified when it involves your personal life. As a divorced parent, you must rely on your co-parent to obey the parenting plan, but some people simply won’t comply. This can include lateness, missing appointments, not following transportation agreements, not paying for expenses, etc. A parent could also be guilty of blocking visitation, not having the kids ready on time, and so forth.

Most people have the occasional misstep in their plans. If a co-parent makes the occasional mistake, you can usually handle the matter to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Some co-parents, however, are chronically unreliable.

This situation can put you in an awkward position. On one hand, you may not want to force someone to obey a parenting plan. Doing so can make you feel like the bad guy or make the other parent look bad in front of the kids. On the other hand, you should not continually suffer because you can’t count on someone else.

Here are some options you can consider when you need another parent to comply with the parenting plan.

Renegotiate Your Plan

Sometimes, life simply gets in the way of your best intentions. A co-parent may be completely willing to follow a plan, but they aren’t able.

In situations like these, you are free to renegotiate your plan. Parenting plans are court-ordered, but parents have the right to change them. You can simply go over the details of the original plan and make necessary modifications.

It’s important to keep your new plan official. This protects both parents from future accusations, and it makes all expectations clear and legal. Once you’ve altered the plan, resubmit it to the courts, and you can start following the new expectations from there.

If you have a difficult time working with the other parent, you can attend mediation. In this scenario, a neutral third party helps you create a new agreement together. This person has special training to keep conversations civil and productive.

Using Legal Authority

Unfortunately, some people simply won’t listen to reason, and you are forced to hold them legally accountable.

Remember, all parts of your parenting plan are court approved, and therefore court ordered. Courts take their orders seriously, no matter how minor the ruling may seem to you. Breaking the plan, even once, is technically illegal, and doing so can result in penalties.

Disobeying a parenting plan, by law, is an example of contempt of court. You can file a Motion for Contempt, and the state can step in from there.

Before doing so, send notice to the other parent. This can help on two levels. First, it could make the other parent realize how serious the problem has become, and they might clean up their act and start obeying the plan properly. Second, this notice will show the court that you’ve made every attempt to solve the problem yourself without running to the authorities.

When a parent is guilty of violating the parenting plan, they can suffer multiple penalties including:

  • Sanctions including fines or even jail time. In Iowa, the court can give someone thirty days in jail for each separate violation. If a parent has chronically broken their plan, they can suffer long stretches in jail.
  • Forced to Pay the Other Parent’s Filing Fees

If you’re having trouble with a co-parent who won’t follow through with the parenting plan, contact our firm for help. We may be able to produce options to avoid legal intervention. If necessary, we can also help you plead to the courts for help. You can call us at (515) 200-7571 today or schedule time with us online.