Enforcement of Parenting Plans and Custody Arrangements

The family courts in Florida approve parenting plans and child custody orders based on the arrangements they believe will be in the best interest of the child. Unfortunately, there are always some parents who agree to a parenting plan in court and then fail to comply with the agreement. When this occurs, you may be left with little to no visitation with your child or say in important decisions. Even if you may be behind on some child support payments, the custodial parent does not have the authority to withhold access to your child. If the other parent of your child is refusing to abide by a court order, an experienced attorney can help you stand up for your parental rights.

Protecting Your Rights

If the parenting or custodial plan states that you get to spend a certain amount of time with your child, you have the legal right to those visits. A court order issued by a judge is an official proclamation and there are several ways to enforce them. First, you can file a request for an enforcement order with the court that entered the original order. If they still fail to comply with the parenting plan or custody order, you may do the following:

  • Ask the court to hold them in contempt;
  • Ask the court to impose sanctions; or
  • Pursue criminal charges.
Fighting Relocation

Many parents fail to comply with court-ordered custody arrangements because they decide to relocate with your child. Florida law prohibits a parent from simply picking up and relocating your child if such relocation will materially affect the current time-sharing schedule and access to your child. If you do not agree to the relocation, the other parent must file a petition to relocate with the family court. You must then file an objection to the relocation.

The court will hear the arguments of both sides and is required to consider the following factors in order to grant or deny the relocation:

  • The quality and nature of the child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The extent of involvement of the non-relocating parent in the child’s life;
  • The age, physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child, including any special
  • needs;
  • The ability to preserve the parent-child relationship if the relocation is granted;
  • The preference of the child, if the child is old and mature enough to make that decision;
  • Whether relocation will enhance the quality of the child’s life;
  • Reasons for seeking relocation and whether the request was in good faith;
  • Whether the objecting parent is current on child support obligations;
  • Whether there was a history of domestic abuse or substance abuse by either parent; and
  • Any other factor the court believes affects the best interest of the child.

Fighting relocation so that you can enforce the current arrangement can be complicated, and an attorney can help you argue your case in front of the court. If a parent relocates your child without permission, we can help you fight it.

If you are having difficulty enforcing a parenting plan or custody arrangement or you wish to seek a modification of a court order, do not hesitate to contact the office of experienced family law attorney Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton, Florida for help today.