Parenting time remains one of the most vital issues divorcing or separating parties who share children face. Regarding parenting time, the court may agree to various arrangements. However, the child’s best interests will always remain at the crux of any court’s determination. And in some cases, the divorcing or separating parties may share a rapport so that they can agree on parenting time quickly and seamlessly.
Regardless of the underlying circumstances, when either party defaults on their obligations as outlined under the parenting order, you should retain the services of a Toronto parenting time enforcement lawyer. A seasoned custody lawyer at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm could act immediately to protect your parental rights and your child’s best interests while seeking the court’s help to compel the non-compliant party to act in concert with the provisions of the existing order.
The term parenting time indicates the actual period for which you as a parent are physically responsible for your child or children. There are a few potential parenting time arrangements that could arise in the aftermath of a divorce or separation, with you and your former partner sharing parenting time equally (in other words, your child spends equivalent time living with both parents) or with one parent retaining the majority of parenting time while the other has regular visits. In some cases, when parents share multiple children, parenting time may be allocated differently for different children.
Parenting time is distinct from decision-making responsibility, which is the ability to make resolutions about the child’s life and well-being. When you have decision-making responsibility, you can make pertinent legal determinations, such as where your child attends school or receives medical care.
Depending on the underlying circumstances and the dynamics between both parents, decision-making responsibility may be shared or—in some situations—allocated to one party only. Even so, judges typically favor cases where both parties retain parenting time with the child unless it is against the child’s best interests. When your former spouse or partner interferes with your ability to maintain parenting time with your child, it may be wise to get a capable Toronto lawyer involved to help you seek enforcement through the courts.
While parenting time can take many forms—except in cases of abuse or potential endangerment to the child—courts will almost always lean towards arrangements where both parties have parenting time, even if that means one party is supervised during these periods. As such, there are several circumstances where it may be necessary to contact a skilled parenting time enforcement lawyer in Toronto.
For example, if your former partner or spouse fails to show up for their allotted parenting time, you may need help enforcing your existing parenting plan. Likewise, legal action may be required if you share parenting time with your former spouse and they obstruct or otherwise impede your allotted time with your children. In some cases, one parent may try to keep the child for longer than the parenting plan allows or seek to modify the parenting plan without a meaningful underlying change in circumstances that would warrant such a modification. Even if the child does not wish to spend time with each parent as required under the existing order, that does not mean either party can stop following or otherwise violate the current parenting plan.
In some situations, it may be as simple as getting both parties before a judge to ensure that the parenting plan is enforced or, if needed, changed to reflect both parents’ current circumstances and the child’s best interests. However, the court may use other means to enforce parenting time, ranging from financial penalties to incarceration.
When your former spouse or partner disregards the terms of your parenting plan, you may feel overwhelmed, concerned, and unsure of what you can do next. One of our Toronto parenting time enforcement lawyers could advocate on your behalf before the court and pursue all options to ensure that your former partner or spouse holds up their side of the parenting order.
In some cases, it could be necessary to seek a modification of an existing parenting plan when a material change in the circumstances of either parent or the child is at play. A well-practiced legal professional could help you review your options and navigate the complexities of the courts and family law procedures. Call now to speak with our team about your parenting time enforcement options.
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