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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > What Happens If Your Ex-Spouse Doesn’t Follow The Parenting Plan?

What Happens If Your Ex-Spouse Doesn’t Follow The Parenting Plan?


If you do not pay the amount of child support that the court has ordered you to pay, you can get in big trouble.  Not only are you responsible for all your overdue child support payments until you pay them, but the court can garnish your paychecks, suspend your driver’s license, and even send you to jail.  The rationale for this harsh response to failure to pay child support is that, when you don’t pay, the financial burden falls on someone else, whether it is your ex-spouse, your children’s extended family, or even the state.  It might seem like failure to obey your parenting plan, which doesn’t include any financial obligations but does indicate which days the children should be with you, would not be as big of a deal.  People tend not to be as angry about their ex-spouses changing their weekend or summer plans as they do about their ex-spouses not paying what they owe, but parenting plans are just as legally binding as child support orders.  A Birmingham child custody lawyer can help you enforce or modify a parenting plan if your ex-spouse is not exercising his or her court-ordered parenting time.

Contempt of Court for Noncompliance With an Order of the Family Court

If your ex-spouse does not spend as many days per year with the children as the parenting plan indicates or, even worse, if your ex prevents you from exercising your court-ordered parenting time, you have the right to petition the court for enforcement of the parenting plan, just as you can for noncompliance with any order issued by the family court.  In other words, the court regards failure to exercise parenting time similarly to failure to hand over a marital asset pursuant to the divorce decree or failure to pay alimony or child support.  The court can hold your ex-spouse in contempt, ordering her to pay fines or even imposing a jail sentence.

Modifying Your Parenting Plan: A More Practical Solution

If you think that sending your ex-spouse to jail for flaking on his plans to take the children for the weekend, most divorced parents agree with you.  In most cases, the more practical solution is to modify the parenting plan, changing it to a schedule with which both parents can easily comply.  If you modify your parenting plan in a way that greatly increases one parent’s parenting time, you will also need to modify your child support amount to reflect these changes.

The court can also modify the parenting plan as a penalty for noncompliance.  When it does this, it usually increases the amount of parenting time for the spouse who has been complying with the parenting plan.

Contact Peeples Law About Noncompliance With Parenting Plans

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you find a solution if your ex-spouse is unable to comply with your parenting plan in its current form or if your ex-spouse refuses to comply with it.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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