Somerville Office

Options When an Ex Violates the Summer Parenting Plan

The time a child spends with each parent post-divorce helps to maintain and build meaningful relationships with both. The underlying foundation of every parenting plan is to facilitate those relationships.

When one parent violates their child custody parenting plan, the infraction does not harm only the parent. The child’s relationship with that parent can be negatively impacted. Children’s schedules are less rigid in the summer (no school!) and vacations are typically planned, making the warm months of June, July, and August susceptible to custody infringements.

A parent who willfully disregards the parenting plan can land in legal hot water. Contempt of court is possible resulting in possible fines and jail time.

Immediately Address Parenting Plan Transgressions

If your ex does not live up to their end of an agreement, speak up. Small infringements tend to grow if they are not dealt with expeditiously. The best way to address a first-time violation is to open a dialogue with the other parent. This conversation is best handled in writing – text, instant message, or email – in case what was said is later needed in a court case.

Let the other parent know that the action was unacceptable and that you do not want it to happen again. Ask questions and evaluate the answers. Is the response reasonable? Do you believe this violation is a stepping stone to more problems? A one-off offense could be just that but watch for potential escalation that could require taking your ex to court.

Recognize Whether Parenting Plan Modifications Are Needed

Over time, the needs and responsibilities of parents and children evolve. Toddlers become teenagers with jobs, lake outings with friends, and dates. Parents remarry, get new jobs, and have additional children. Many life events occur that could make an old parenting plan unworkable and obsolete.

Violations of the plan may be a sign that a more permanent solution is necessary. Modifications can be made to custody, parenting time, support, and other terms. Your family law attorney can help you negotiate a new plan with your ex or bring the matter to court for a judge’s determination.

Filing for Contempt Might Be Necessary

When your ex intentionally disobeys the enforceable parenting plan, filing a motion for contempt of court under Rule 1:10 may be appropriate.

Rule 5:3-7 gives the court the authority to order any of the following remedies:

  • Compensatory time with the children
  • Economic sanctions include but are not limited to the award of monetary compensation for the costs resulting from a parent's failure to appear for scheduled parenting time or visitation such as child care expenses incurred by the other parent
  • Modification of transportation arrangements
  • Pick-up and return of the children in a public place
  • Counseling for the children or parents or any of them at the expense of the parent in violation of the order
  • Temporary or permanent modification of the custodial arrangement provided such relief is in the best interest of the children
  • Participation by the parent in violation of the order in an approved community service program
  • Incarceration, with or without work release
  • Issuance of a warrant to be executed upon the further violation of the judgment or order
  • Any other appropriate equitable remedy

Depending on the details of the case, criminal charges can also be filed under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-4a (4).

If you need legal guidance for enforcing child custody orders, contact Lane & Lane, LLC. Our family firm is dedicated to serving the families of Somerville and Central New Jersey. Schedule a free consultation by calling (908) 259-6673.