Some Ohio parents have enough trouble getting their child’s other parent to follow a parenting plan during ordinary times. When something like the current coronavirus pandemic hits, these individuals may completely abandon their parenting plan. While it can be frustrating and heartbreaking for you to navigate this situation, it can be devastating for your child as they may not understand the turmoil and unpredictability such actions subject them to.
Four Reasons to Keep Your Parenting Plan in Uncertain Times
Whether ignoring the terms of your parenting plan seems like the best way to protect your child from harm or to “get back” at a parent who has caused you grief and trouble in the past, there are four reasons why it is better to adhere to your parenting plan as much as possible:
- It benefits your child. So long as the other parent is not abusive or neglectful, adhering to the parenting plan usually benefits your child in that it provides them with a routine and familiarity during uncertain times. Your child may not understand why they are no longer able to see their other parent or stepsiblings, which can add to the stress they are already experiencing when school is canceled, their outdoor activities are limited, and their ability to see friends and extended family is curtailed.
- It prevents negative attention from the court. Whether during times of pandemic or times of peace, courts do not take kindly to parents who ignore court orders and agreements without some compelling reason to do so. Unless your child’s life is in immediate danger, courts much prefer that you attempt to either reach an agreement with the other party or at least involve the court in your plans. Failing to do so may lead the judge to take adverse actions against you, including finding you in contempt.
- It saves you from potential criminal liability. Depriving a parent of custody of their child may be a crime, even if such action is committed by the child’s other parent. If criminally charged, you could be arrested and subjected to fines and periods of incarceration. Not only would these consequences impact your ability to parent your child, they may affect your very freedom.
- It is the right thing to do. While attempting to work a parenting plan during uncertain and unpredictable times is difficult work, it is the right thing to do. The family court system – the entire justice system – rests upon people respecting the judge’s orders and the agreements they make with one another. Our systems and society simply could not survive if individuals were simply to abandon their promises and covenants with one another and disregard a court’s orders without consequence any time they wish.
What To Do When the Other Parent Doesn’t Follow the Parenting Plan
If your child’s other parent is not abiding by the agreed-upon and court-approved parenting plan, do not take matters into your own hands and attempt to “get even” with the other parent. With your attorney’s help, bring the matter to the attention of the judge overseeing your case as soon as possible and seek a resolution from the court. A judge may order the other parent to immediately return your child to you, comply with the parenting plan, and take remedial action or be found in contempt.
Dawes Legal, LLC can help you protect your parental rights and hold your child’s other parent to account if they fail to abide by your parenting plan. Call us at (614) 733-9999 to discuss your custody situation as soon as possible.