My Ex Won’t Abide by Parenting Time Arrangements, What Do I Do?

My Ex Won’t Abide by Parenting Time Arrangements, What Do I Do?

Creating a workable parenting time arrangement is among the most critical tasks during a Colorado divorce involving children and is always best done with the help of an experienced Colorado parental responsibilities’ attorney.

Colorado considers two types of parental responsibilities:

  • Parenting Time: Where a child lives at a given time. Parenting time can be defined under a number of arrangements based upon the developmental needs of the child or children.  For example, parenting time arrangements for an infant or toddler will likely be very different from the parenting time for a seven year old who has had a close relationship with both parents.  In contrast, if a parent has been absent or not part of a child’s life, that parent may have to work with the child to develop her trust before extensive parenting time can begin.  For infants and toddlers, parenting time can range from three or four hours multiple times each week to an equal schedule when a child is somewhat older.
  • Decision Making: Parents can jointly make major decisions in the areas of health care (medical/dental/mental health and vision), education, activities and religion.  Colorado law favors joint decision making but carves out exceptions when there is a history of domestic violence or other conditions that would interfere with the ability of both parties to jointly arrive at decisions for a child.

Whatever the arrangements are regarding parental responsibilities (parenting time and decision making), it is vital to have a carefully drafted Parenting Plan that sets forth all agreements in an effort to avoid future conflicts.

Parental Responsibilities Issues in Colorado

Having a parenting plan that carefully defines the roles of both parents, and anticipates future needs and potential disagreements, such as one parent moving away, or a parent deciding to change a child’s school, is one of the primary responsibilities of your Denver parental responsibilities attorney. A comprehensive plan will often save time, money and headaches compared to seeking court-ordered remedies after the fact.

Creating the initial plan does not necessarily need to be adversarial. In fact collaborative options, such as mediation or arbitration, often offer parents a private, expedited and cost-effective way to resolve disagreements.  Often, the best parenting plans come from both parents working together with a mental health professional acting as a neutral child specialist who helps the parents design their parenting plan.

But still, problems may arise when one parent simply refuses to abide by a court-ordered parenting plan. In such cases, experienced legal help and court-ordered intervention are often the best solutions when it comes to long-term compliance.

Forcing Compliance with a Colorado Parenting Plan Order

Careful documentation is critical. In far too many cases, a parent does not reach out for the help and guidance of an experienced parental responsibilities lawyer in Denver until a former spouse has repeatedly breached and defied the order. Such cases too often devolve into he-said, she-said arguments that the court has no interest in entertaining.

Steps to consider to enforce a Parenting Plan agreement in Colorado include: 

  • Police intervention: If the issues are serious, such as failure to return a child for a significant period of time after visitation, creating a police report can help document what occurred.
  • Documentation: You should save text messages, emails and voicemails that document violations and share them with your attorney.  Using a communication platform such as Talking Parents, Our Family Wizard or Civil Communicator, by way of example, keeps all communications in one organized online place.
  • Talk to your attorney: Seeking legal help at the outset of such disagreements, and carefully documenting violations with the help of your lawyer, is the best bet when it comes to a successful outcome.

File a motion with the court: Notifying the court of custody violations is another important step. Taken individually, some violations may not warrant court action. But having documentation of cumulative infractions is always better than attempting to allege past violations long after the fact.  Colorado has a statute, C.R.S. 14-10-129.5, “Disputes concerning parenting time” which allows the court to be very creative in resolving parenting time issues.

Getting a child connected with a therapist in high conflict parenting situations provides the child with a safe place to discuss her feelings, away from the two embattled parents.  If there is joint parental decision making, most therapists will require consent from both parents.

With the help of documentation of violations and your Denver child custody attorney, the court can be convinced to issue a Motion-to-Enforce, which can hold a non-compliant parent accountable for breaching custody terms or denying visitation. Such an order can reaffirm your parental rights and offer a number of remedies, ranging from extra time for missed visitation, to fining an ex-spouse or awarding you financial compensation.

Contact the Denver Child Custody Attorneys at Littman Family Law and Mediation Services at 303-832-4200 for a confidential consultation.

Littman Family Law and Mediation Services

1772 Emerson Street
Denver, CO 80218
Phone: 303-832-4200
Fax: 303-832-9322
Denver Law Office Map

We’d love to hear from you.