It is an unfortunate fact that divorce can bring out a person’s worst behavior. When such behaviors only affect you, you may find a way to cope, but when it has an impact on your kids, you may struggle to find a solution.

One way parents often act out during or after a divorce is by violating the parenting plan you worked so hard to create. For example, your co-parent may ignore the stipulations outlined in your child custody and visitation agreement. He or she may fail to show up for custody exchanges or may repeatedly keep the children for longer than agreed upon.

If this is happening to you, we want to urge you to be careful in how you respond to such child custody and visitation violations. Instead of lashing out at your co-parent, which might hurt your case if you seek a legal remedy, consider a proactive approach. Many of our clients take the following steps when custody violations occur.

  • Go over your parenting plan to make sure that your co-parent is indeed violating your agreement. Sometimes, what seems like a violation may not be one.
  • Always make sure you comply with your side of the agreement. In other words, don’t mimic your co-parent’s behavior to get back at him or her.
  • Try speaking calmly and respectfully with your co-parent to stop the violations. In many cases, this approach works.
  • If despite your best efforts, the behaviors continue, consider taking your dilemma to a family law attorney.

Seeking legal counsel has many benefits. One benefit is that it shows the court that you take its child custody and visitation orders seriously. Another benefit of legal support is that it keeps you from making errors that could further upset an already troubling situation.