Contempt Of Court: What to Do If Your Ex Violates the Parenting Plan?

Parenting is complicated but add to that a mix of former partners who might not be on the best terms and a court-ordered parenting plan, and you have a potential recipe for disaster. In such a situation, one of the parents will often end up violating the parenting plan.

Parenting Plan Explained

After parents separate or divorce, a parenting plan is entered into to decide the parenting rights and responsibilities pertaining to any of their children. Such a plan will cover things like custody, visitation, childcare, school, health care, major decisions for the child, etc. For instance, a parenting plan will delineate how much time each parent will spend with the child. However, just because there is an agreement to such effect does not mean it will always be honored by the parties. A parenting plan can be violated in multiple ways, for instance:

  • Arriving late to pick up the child or completely missing the scheduled parenting time
  • Exposing the child to potentially dangerous situations
  • Not seeking consent from the other parent regarding major decisions for the child
  • Preventing the other parent from seeing the child as laid out by the parenting plan

Seeking relief: Holding the violating party in Contempt of Court in Missouri.

Not following a parenting plan is essentially a violation of a court order. However, just because your ex has violated such a court order does not automatically entitle you to relief. Instead, you must ask for it. Depending on the circumstances, if you believe your child is in danger because the parenting plan is being violated, you may need to call the police and then consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you determine what sort of relief to which you may be entitled. Under Missouri Law, you have two options at your disposal.

If you want the non-complying parent to comply with the parenting plan, you can file a Motion for Contempt with the Court. For instance, if your ex is not picking up the children for school as required by the parenting plan, you can file a Motion for Contempt. By filing a Motion for Contempt, you ask the Court to hold the non-complying parent in contempt and enforce the parenting plan. As a penalty, the noncompliant parent could be subject to sanctions like attorney’s fees or the costs incurred by you to make the motion.

A second option at your disposal is to file a Family Access Motion. However, this Motion is only filed if the custody or visitation rights granted to you by the parenting plan are interfered with by your ex without good cause. Under a Family Access Motion, a hearing will be held to determine whether there has been a violation of the order for custody or visitation without good cause, and appropriate relief may be offered.

Contact experienced family law attorneys today

Suppose you believe your ex is violating the parenting plan or are being prevented from seeking the rights granted to you within it. In that case, you should reach out to the experienced family law attorneys of Marler Law Partners. Our lawyers here at Marler Law Partners are experienced in family law. We will work with you to develop the best legal strategy for your case to obtain the best outcome. Call us today for a free consultation.