It’s an area that is always ripe for potential conflict: when the other parent is not abiding by the time-sharing aspect of your parenting plan. It’s preventing you from being with your child during your allocated time and it is ignoring the court-ordered agreement.
You are no pushover, but you wonder how to nip this behavior in the bud. Of course you could try talking about it with your ex. But if the problem is persistent enough, it is possible to ask the court to back you up in enforcing the parenting plan.
Forms of enforcement
Sometimes the other parent will claim that they have a right to violate the parenting plan because the other spouse has failed to pay court-ordered child support. But Florida law does not a parent to refuse to uphold the visitation schedule for that reason. The statute is Florida Stat. 61.13(4).
If the other parent has repeatedly and substantially violated the parenting plan in your divorce decree, that parent is at risk of being held in contempt of court. The process for seeking this remedy begins a petition asking the other parent to be held in contempt of court. You are asking the judge to enforce the existing court order related to the parenting plan and time-sharing agreement.
How will the court enforce the parenting schedule and a contempt of court finding? It may come in different forms. For example, the judge may give you additional time with your child, order your spouse to pay your attorney fees, pay a fine, participate in community service, and, if the violation is egregious enough, change the parenting plan.
It is too bad that it has come to this, but you knew that you had no other choice. You love your children and want to spend as much time with them as possible.
Do not let such a move go unchallenged
You cannot allow the other parent to make a unilteral change in the existing parenting plan. Their decision to violate the agreement and disrupt the time-sharing plan does not have to go unchallenged. You have every right to take your ex back to court, especially if they continue to subscribe to such behavior. You do not have give them “one more last chance.”