Co-parenting is inevitably a challenging process. Adults have to acclimate to spending less time with their children. They need to learn how to communicate with one another in an appropriate manner and abide by the schedule established by their custody order.
The New York family courts often invest a lot of effort into the creation of a custody order, and those subject to one have a legal obligation to comply with the terms it includes. Despite that obligation, there are some parents who refuse to honor their co-parenting arrangement. They may cancel visitation or shorten parenting sessions without prior communication or an agreement to allow for make-up parenting time. How can a co-parent denied an appropriate amount of time with their children enforce a custody order in New York?
Keep thorough records
If someone wants to hold a co-parent responsible for violating a custody order, then they need proof that such violations occurred. People need more than just a list of the dates and times when their co-parent canceled or shortened their time with the children. They also need to show up for parenting even if they have received notice that the other parent will not permit the custody exchange. Establishing a record of frequent cancellations or parenting time reductions will help adults enforce their existing order and potentially obtain make-up parenting time.
Ask the courts for support
Occasionally, documentation showing repeated and non-consensual changes to the parenting plan without make-up parenting time can help one parent demand accountability from the other. Some parents will begin cooperating when they realize that enforcement efforts will likely soon occur. Others will dig in their heels and continue refusing to abide by the custody order. Parents can ask the New York Courts for enforcement of a custody order at a hearing. A judge can award one parent make-up time with the children and can caution or penalize the parent who has not followed the custody order. In fact, they can treat the non-compliant parent as though they were in contempt of court. In more extreme cases, judges might modify an existing custody order to reflect the inability of one parent to put the best interest of the children first.
Seeking legal guidance when dealing with custody order violations can make a big difference for frustrated parents in New York. If resolving concerns amicably with one’s co-parent is not an option, having legal support may be downright necessary.