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Enforcement/Modification of Parenting Plans

Nashville Family Law Attorney Assists with Enforcement and Modification of Parenting Plans

Detailed attention to your concerns and tough advocacy of your rights

Your court-ordered parenting plan is the playbook for maintaining your loving relationship with your children. But if the other parent refuses to play by the rules, or the game plan simply isn’t working, you may have to return to court. At WalshLaw in Nashville, I assist parents with motions to enforce or modify their parenting plans. Change is inevitable, especially with growing children, so routine changes are to be expected. However, emergencies can also arise, when you need to take decisive steps immediately to correct a wrong or protect your kids. I have more than 15 years of experience in this area of the law, so I am well prepared to help you address any situation that may arise.

Do parenting plans have an expiration date?

After weeks or months of negotiating, mediating, and/or litigating a parenting plan, you finally arrived at what you thought was a manageable agreement. The plan set a schedule for when the children would live with you and when they would live with your ex, divided the holidays and birthdays fairly, and allocated decision-making authority appropriately. The plan worked well at first, and you and your ex were completely on board with its terms. Then one conflict came up, then a cancellation, and then a pattern of missed appointments that raised suspicion about your ex’s willingness to comply or the plan’s suitability for your changing circumstances.

Given the amount of time you put in during your divorce, you’re understandably reluctant to go back to court. But, unfortunately, any improvised changes you make to your parenting plan are not enforceable. The old parenting plan stays in effect until a court order changes it. So, the longer you wait, the longer you’ll be stuck with a plan that isn’t working.

The good news is that changes to parenting plans are usually routine. Under the best of circumstances, parents can expect to revise and amend their plan every three years or so. The process of tweaking a plan is generally much less stressful than the initial creation. However, each of you should still consult your own attorney on the matter. I can advise you on how to proceed, help you negotiate the new plan, or at least review the document before you present it to the court.

Enforcing the terms of your parenting plan

More serious problems arise when one parent has not been making a good-faith effort to live according to the parenting plan. In my practice, the most common problems I see include:

  • PRP’s interference with ARP’s parenting time — The alternative residential parent has statutory rights enumerated under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-6-101(a)(3) as well as any specific rights given in the court-approved parenting plan. So, if the primary residential parent attempts to impede contact by failing to get the child ready for pickup, cutting parenting time short, or scheduling activities in conflict with parenting time, the court can intervene.
  • Attempts at parental alienation — If one parent tries to undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent, the court can take action. Parents who reward children for rejecting the other parent or punish them for expressing affection for the other parent, no matter how subtly, can do great emotional damage to their kids. In extreme cases, the court could overrule an existing child custody order and award equal or greater residential time to the injured parent.
  • Missed parenting time appointments — On the other end of the spectrum, we sometimes see ARPs who repeatedly disappoint their children by failing to show up for parenting time appointments. In the best interest of the children, a court can take away parenting time from an irresponsible ARP.

Your relationship to your child and your child’s welfare are vitally important. If you feel your rights under your existing parenting plan are being violated, I can help you obtain an appropriate remedy.

Contact my Nashville, TN office for a consultation on modifying or enforcing a parenting plan

When a parenting plan isn’t working or isn’t being followed, WalshLaw provides honest counsel and zealous advocacy in pursuit of appropriate remedies. To schedule a consultation, call 615-240-7457 or contact my Nashville office online. My office is located at 4535 Harding Pike, just west of White Bridge Pike and Woodmont Boulevard.

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Office Location
  • Nashville Office
    4535 Harding Pike
    Suite 108
    Nashville, Tennessee 37205
    Phone: 615-915-0760
    Fax: 877-297-7310