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Enforcing your parenting plan if your ex refuses parenting time

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2019 | Firm News

Divorcing as a parent in Nebraska means worrying about what changes in custody will mean for your relationship with your children. Specifically, if things become very contentious with your ex, you might worry that they will withhold parenting time from you as a means of punishing you for the problems in your relationship.

However, both temporary and final parenting plans associated with a divorce are court orders that your ex must comply with, even if they have primary custody. Much like you have an obligation to pay your child support on time and in full, your ex has an obligation to not just allow but encourage and facilitate your parenting time with the children. The kids will benefit from having a good relationship with both parents after the divorce.

Sadly, not all custodial parents put the needs of the children before their own emotions or personal vendettas. If your ex has tried denying you parenting time as a means of punishing you during or after your divorce, you may need to ask the Nebraska family courts to enforce your custody rights.

You need to prove that there has been parental interference

You can’t simply request a hearing with the courts and angrily accuse your ex of denying you time with the children. You will need to have some form of evidence to offer in support of your claims. Keeping a record of every denied visitation with your children is a good start.

Digital records of text messages and emails canceling your parenting time can also help, as can any social media posts that indicate your ex has intentionally deprived you of access to your kids out of anger or spite.

How will the Nebraska courts view such claims?

The courts want to put the best interest of the children first at all times, and they expect the parents in a divorce to do the same thing. When one parent puts their own desire for revenge or control ahead of what the kids need, that reflects poorly on their parenting skills. The courts typically take a dim view of intentional parental alienation, particularly if such efforts directly violate the terms set by a court order.

The courts can take enforcement actions, including requiring makeup time for all the parenting time you have lost. In situations where one parent has egregiously violated the parenting plan with intent, the courts may alter the custody arrangements to allocate more parenting rights and time to the parent previously dealing with denied visitation and alienation.

It’s important to understand that the courts won’t take action unless you ask them to. They have no way of knowing that your ex has stopped complying with the terms of the divorce unless you advise them of the change in circumstances. Requesting enforcement action is usually the most straightforward way to address one parent’s refusal to share custody as ordered by the courts.