What Happens if You Violate a Parenting Plan?

When a parent violates a court-ordered or agreed upon parenting plan, they run the risk of being held in contempt of court. Not only that, but they could face custody and visitation-related consequences if the court considers it to be a serious and consistent enough issue.

You could be held in contempt for the following:

  • Intentionally and repeatedly violating visitation times
  • Failing to return your child to the other parent on time or at all
  • Trying to alienate your child against the other parent
  • Refusing to allow the other parent to see your child according to the plan

Being in contempt of court is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. If the other parent is successful in getting the court to hold you in contempt, they may not only require you to abide by the parenting plan, but you could also face additional repercussions. This may include completing a parenting class, going to counseling with the other parent, and attending additional check-in hearings in the future.

Penalties the Court can Enforce

In cases where a parent has been denied time with their child by the contempt parent, the court may rule that they should get more make-up time with the child. If the violations are frequent or extremely serious in nature, such as one parent trying to flee the state or country with the child, the court may decide to change the custody and visitation plan, giving the other parent more custody rights or even outright stripping the violating parent of their custodial rights. They may also require the parent to spend time in jail for their violations as well. Other penalties that may be enforced include compensation for attorney fees and/or civil penalties.

Keep in mind, the judge will usually only make modifications to an agreement or parenting plan if they believe the parent will still not be able to follow the parenting plan in the future. Similarly, violations must truly be significant enough to warrant penalties. Simply failing to return your child one time once or twice should not allow for the other parent to pursue this action against you.

Have questions about parenting plans? Need to protect your rights as a parent? Contact McKinley Irvin today for insightful counsel and support.

Photo Credit: Flickr / Greg Westfall

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