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What if a parenting time order is not being followed?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Child Custody

Family disputes do not always end when a Colorado couple has parted ways and gotten a divorce. While the end of the case usually settles certain issues like property division, others can still be in dispute if the agreement is not followed. That is true with spousal support, child support, child custody and parenting time.

Anything involving children can be emotional and problematic. The factors that led to the divorce could still cause people to behave in ways that could cause greater friction. One tactic that some use is to violate the parenting time agreement. In cases where the child is in imminent danger, it is understandable if a parent is trying to shield the child from that risk. In cases where it is done randomly, the noncustodial parent has the right to see the child based on the parenting time agreement. When discussion does not yield a positive result, it may be necessary to seek legal assistance.

Understanding the law for parenting time disputes and what can be done

When there is a parenting time dispute, it is critical to follow the law. The parent who claims the parenting time order is being violated must file a verified motion to that effect. The court will assess the claim. If it does not believe that the parenting time order is being ignored, it can deny the motion. It can order a hearing where the parents will be notified as to when it will take place. Or it can order the parents to take part in mediation and get back to the court with its results within 63 days.

If there is a hearing and the court determines that the parenting time order has been violated, the court will first consider the child’s best interests. Then it will make an order that may add terms and conditions to the existing order. Parents should be aware that issues with support cannot be linked to parenting time. If a noncustodial parent is late on the payments, the custodial parent cannot decide unilaterally to penalize them by not letting the see the child.

The court might modify the order. It can order one or both parents to attend parental education classes. It can order family counseling. A parent might be asked to post a bond or security to put a financial penalty in place if they do not comply in the future. There can also be makeup parenting time for what was lost by the failure to follow the initial order.

Consulting with qualified legal professionals can help with parenting time issues

When a parent has already tried to work things out with the other parent and get the parenting time they are supposed to get based on the agreement, they will likely be at a crossroads and not know what to do. When searching for legal help, it is imperative to have trustworthy and professional guidance to assess all the options and pick the right strategy.

Getting advice that is tailored specifically to the situation is a first step. In some instances, it is not necessary to take the case to court and make the lingering tensions even worse. It may be possible to discuss the matter is a calm, cool and rational way, find out why the custodial parent is not adhering to the parenting time agreement and forge a negotiated solution. Of course, that might not prove effective, but it is worthwhile to consider.

For those in Fort Collins, Greeley and Northern Colorado, consulting with a qualified, caring and experienced professional who has a history of providing mediation services while simultaneously having courtroom experience is key. This could resolve the conflict and benefit everyone – especially the child. Regardless of whether the case needs to go to court, the child should be the primary focus. Since child custody and parenting time issues are so prevalent, experience matters. Calling for advice and a consultation is a wise first step.