Separating parents typically develop parenting plans that govern how each parent will maintain a meaningful relationship with the children. The law favors specific plans that cover visitation schedules, drop-off and pick-up arrangements, expectations for visits, and other critical matters.
Children suffer when one parent refuses to comply with a parenting time arrangement. Besides missing time with their non-custodial parent, children lose the benefit of having the structure and routine that a parenting plan provides.
If your co-parent repeatedly violates your parenting time agreement, you could take legal steps to force their compliance with the help of a skilled parenting time lawyer like Paul Riley. Judges can order fines and even jail time for parents who refuse to comply with parenting time orders. Get in touch with an Ottawa parenting time enforcement lawyer today to protect your rights and your child’s best interests.
If adherence to a parenting time agreement or order becomes an issue, you should note all incidents of non-compliance in writing. Documentation generated at the time of the violation could help you prove that your co-parent is willfully ignoring the parenting plan.
If possible, you should discuss the issue with the co-parent and try to brainstorm a solution. Mediation is sometimes effective to address problems in implementing parenting time orders or agreements. However, if your co-parent is engaging in unpredictable or inappropriate behavior regarding their parenting responsibilities, you could file a motion with a court seeking relief.
A court could instruct the violating parent to comply with the existing order or face possible contempt findings. The court also might modify the order to make it easier for the offending parent to comply. In rare cases, the Ontario Children’s Law Reform Act s.38 allows a court to impose a fine on an offending parent or even sentence them to jail.
Divorce or separation of parents is tough on children, and they might blame one of you for the disruption to their home. Children sometimes refuse to attend scheduled visits with a parent they feel is responsible for the breakup.
Ontario law does not give children free will about parenting time until they reach age 18. Until then, a custodial parent is responsible for complying with a parenting time order and must make a child available for visits, even against their will. A parent in this position should talk to the child and co-parent to identify the reason for their unwillingness and perhaps address it in a family council or family therapy.
Courts expect custodial parents to force children to see their co-parent, just as a parent might force a child to see a doctor or attend school. Allowing a child’s uncooperativeness to dictate a parenting time arrangement in defiance of a court order could have consequences for the lenient parent. If you are having trouble getting your child to attend visits with your co-parent, a seasoned parenting time enforcement lawyer in Ottawa might have suggestions to protect you from allegations of interference with the parenting plan.
Some parenting time violations are more significant than others. In case of a violation that endangers the child, you could involve the police and seek an urgent revision to the parenting plan.
If a parent’s behavior with the children is violent or erratic, or the parent is intoxicated with drugs or alcohol during parenting time, you could call the police. It is also an emergency if a parent takes the child out of the jurisdiction without prior approval or threatens to leave the country with the children.
In an emergency a diligent custody enforcement lawyer in Ottawa could prepare an urgent motion without notice, sometimes called an ex parte motion. You must present details explaining why the situation is urgent and why providing advance notice to the offending partner could be dangerous.
The court could grant the relief you ask for temporarily and will schedule a hearing for both parties to explain their side of the story. That hearing usually takes place within 14 days.
If a parent’s mental health issues, addictions, poor parenting skills, or other problems pose a risk to the children, a court might modify a parenting plan to require supervised visitation only. Another responsible adult—often a family member but sometimes a trained professional—will be present during the visit to ensure the parent’s behavior is appropriate and the children are physically and emotionally safe.
Parents sometimes wish the other parent to have no contact with the children. Courts will order this in only the most extreme circumstances and only after extended attempts to assist the other parent. The Children’s Aid Society and the Office of the Children’s Lawyer are typically involved in these proceedings.
Your parenting time agreement allows you some space to rebuild your life and, most importantly, provides your children with the meaningful contact with both parents that is essential to their development. If your co-parent consistently violates your parenting plan, they harm your children.
An Ottawa parenting time enforcement lawyer is available at any time to assist you with your concerns. Reach out to seek advice and guidance from an experienced legal professional like Paul Riley today.
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