Steps to Take When a Co-parent isn’t Following the Parenting Plan

While most parents make efforts to abide by the provisions of a child custody order, a few don’t mind violating the parenting plan. For instance, a parent may take extra parenting time, neglect to show up for visitation, or make child-related decisions without consulting the co-parent. These actions can affect the parent-child relationship and also be frustrating to the other party. 

If you’re facing a situation where your co-parent isn’t following a custody order, there’s a way to ensure that they do. Here are the specific steps you should take.  

Stick to Your Part of the Plan

Two wrongs do not make a right. Therefore, you must follow your part of the plan regardless of the other party’s actions. The judge might not be pleased when you seek help in enforcing a custody order that you’re also violating.

If the situation involves parental kidnapping, your first step should be to report immediately to law enforcement.

Make an Effort to Resolve the Dispute Outside Court

Some custody orders request parents to resolve any dispute regarding their custody arrangements in mediation. However, whether your parenting plan includes explicitly that or not, you should consider settling your differences outside court. It can save you time and money spent in court proceedings, but if your co-parent is unreasonable, you can proceed to court.

Gather Evidence

Evidence is always an essential part of any court proceeding. If you’re going to prove that the other parent disobeyed the court order, you’ll need to gather tangible evidence.

For instance, a record of missed visitations, such as a marked calendar or datebook, might help. Your record should include the date, time, and location that the visitation or exchange should have occurred. Another useful evidence can be text exchanges between you both.

Additionally, you can present a witness if they can testify of the violations of the custody order. Depending on your case, you might also need to show proof that you’ve unsuccessfully tried resolving your dispute before coming to court. Custody lawyers in West Chester, PA, can also inform you of the kind of evidence to gather.

Talk to Your Lawyer

Before dragging your ex before a court, it’s vital to first speak with your custody lawyers in West Chester PA. An experienced attorney who understands custody laws can review your case and point out the facts that’ll be helpful and relevant in court. Also, custody attorneys are familiar with each judges’ style of approach and understand how the entire family law system works.

File a Contempt Motion

Your next step should be to file a motion of contempt in court. With this petition, you’ll be asking the court to hold the non-compliant parent in contempt and punish him/her for the violations.

Such punishments could include an order to complete a counseling or a parenting class, a fine, or even a jail term. A judge will also ensure that the erring parent sticks to the parenting plan henceforth.


Court-issued orders such as child custody orders are legally binding. Additionally, they’re not open for negotiation, except a parent wants a modification. Therefore, the court expects both parties to follow the written plan accordingly.

However, if your ex isn’t following the parenting plan, a court can help you enforce the order. Schedule a consultation with custody lawyers in West Chester, PA, to begin the process.