How to Enforce Parenting Plans in Colorado

After separating from your former partner, learning to co-parent and stick to your parenting plan can be one of the biggest challenges people face. So, when the other party isn’t holding up their end of the agreement, it can make life difficult for you and your children. When this happens, there are a few solutions you can pursue to get your co-parenting schedule back on track. 

Determine Why Your Co-Parent Isn’t Adhering with the Parenting Plan

Before you try to take action against the other party, it’s important to figure out why the parenting plan isn’t being complied with by the other parent. What’s really going on? Are there valid reasons why the other party is unable to follow the agreement? Perhaps it may be more important to consider filing a motion to modify the parenting plan rather than take action against your childrens’ co-parent.

When two co-parents initially start to collaborate on their Colorado parenting plan, one will often request a high ratio of parenting time under the belief that their schedule and lifestyle will allow for it. Later, that parent may recognize that they logistically can’t have the children as much as they originally wanted. In these instances, both parties may realize that the parenting plan needs to be modified because one parent is unable to accommodate the initially agreed upon schedule.

Colorado Parenting Plans: 3 Methods to Enforce Your Agreements

1. Contempt Motion

The first way the state of Colorado enforces parenting plans is through a contempt motion. Your Court approved Colorado parenting plan is a Court Order, so both parties are legally obligated to abide by it unless documented otherwise. Therefore, if the other party refuses to follow the parenting plan you both originally agreed upon, you can file a contempt motion. In this, you can ask the Court to find the other parent in contempt of court for violating the parenting agreement. 

If the Court rules in your favor, your co-parent will be legally reprimanded and you may have the ability to amend your Colorado parenting plan. The other party may face expensive fines, jail time, or even both if found in contempt of court, so even the threat of being taken to court may be enough to encourage them to adhere to your parenting plan. If it doesn’t, however, your only option may be for them to recognize their mistake through going to Court.

2. File a Motion with the Court

The second way you can have the Court enforce your Colorado parenting plan is by filing a motion with the Court. Keep in mind that even if you have moved your home to a new address or your co-parent has moved, you will still file your motion in the county where you originally got your court orders and established your parenting schedule. If you have never filed a motion with the Court and want representation on your side, Lewis & Matthews, P.C. family lawyers are here to help.

The Court gives priority to motions for enforcement of a parenting plan and may order mediation, which will require both parties to attend meditation sessions where they may be more likely to reach a conclusion regarding the custody agreement. In other instances, the Court may also order the other parent to comply with the parenting plan, and could potentially place sanctions on your co-parent which could include covering your attorney fees. 

3. Involve the Police

While this is an extreme measure that should only be taken if you’ve attempted to try the other two options first, your third method to enforce your Colorado parenting plan is to call the police. For example, if the other parent is holding the children from you and does not let you have them during your typically scheduled share of parenting time, you may have to call the police to go with you to get the children back into your custody. 

On the off chance that involving the police is your only viable option, keep in mind that you will need to show the police a copy of your parenting plan so they can confirm you are well within your rights to take children into your custody. If you feel comfortable, you can also bring another trusted friend or family member with you to either support you or the children. Then, at this point, you can then decide to file a motion for contempt or to enforce your parental rights.

As frustrating as it may be to have a co-parent that isn’t adhering to your Colorado parenting plan, know that you have methods available to correct the situation and ensure your children’s best interests are held as the highest priority. If you’re ready to seek legal support in your child custody issues, consider connecting with the family lawyers at Lewis & Matthews, P.C. Contact us to learn more and get started with our team today.