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Remedies when parents violate parenting time agreements

Colorado courts allow parents to have joint legal custody of their children if it is in the best interests of the child, and will normally allow visitation time to the parent who does not have primary physical custody. In many cases, the parents are able to come up with a visitation schedule on their own, but in other cases, it is up to the judge to make the determination.

Unfortunately, non-custodial parents do not always follow the schedule even if a judge creates one. Some custodial parents might want to change the visitation schedule if the non-custodial parent fails to visit the children in accordance with its terms. Typically, attorneys will try to dissuade custodial parents from this course of action because further restricting the time children can spend with the other parent might be emotionally harmful to them.

The best situation is usually to attempt to encourage non-custodial parents to spend their parenting time with their children without getting the courts involved. However, if this is not possible some courts will pressure non-custodial parents to take a larger interest in their child's life. Not all states follow this philosophy, but those that do might use tactics such as forcing the parent who violated the parenting plan to reimburse the other parent for attorney's fees or costs that stemmed from the violation. Some courts assess penalties in such cases as well.

Those who are unable to get their former spouse to abide by a parenting plan might benefit from speaking with a family law attorney to discuss their options. While in some situations a modification of the plan may be requested, it is important to keep the best interests of the child in mind.

Source: Findlaw, "What if a non-custodial parent fails to exercise his or her designated parenting time with the minor child(ren)?", December 23, 2014

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