Enforcing a Parenting Plan

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What should I do if my parenting plan is violated?

The parenting plan is the cornerstone of your custody arrangement. If one party violates the agreement, knowing what to do will help you protect your relationship with your child.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is often part of a divorce agreement, but it is also necessary for parents that were never married.  A parenting plan is a formal document that is filed with the court that outlines the custody arrangements between parents. The plan will cover all aspects of raising the child and should explicitly cover the parameters of each parent’s responsibilities.

The parenting plan should also address how decisions are made, transportation and exchanges of the child, how disputes between parents are to be handled and a plethora of other important details.

What is the process for enforcement?

Once a parenting plan is in place both parties are legally obligated to honor it. Unfortunately there are times when the court has to be involved to enforce the agreement.

In Oregon the courts expect compliance with the parenting plan. When one parent violates the agreement the other parent will need to turn to the court to pursue a remedy. The first step in enforcing your parenting plan will be to file a motion seeking enforcement with the court.

Once the motion has been filed the court will conduct a hearing no more than 45 days after the filing (unless both parties agree otherwise). The court will review the motion and determine if a violation has occurred.

The three most common outcomes in this type of case are:

  • The judge finds that there was no violation and no further action is taken.
  • The parenting plan was violated, but with good reason and no remedy is required.
  • The parenting plan was violated and a remedy is ordered.

Depending on the severity of the violation, the remedy can range from minor —like allotting one parent more time (to make up the lost time) to more severe, like scheduling a hearing to change custody of the child. Other remedies that the court may order include adding additional terms to the current parenting plan, ordering counseling or parenting classes, suspending child support, or ordering the offending parent to pay restitution of court and attorney fees.

If you have questions about enforcing a parenting plan, speak to an experienced family law attorney.  Every situation is unique and getting specific answers that address your personal circumstances is imperative.

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