Parenting Plan

I have been served with divorce papers which includes a proposed parenting plan. What happens if I do not respond?

It is likely that the court will find you in default and sign off and enter the proposed parenting plan of your spouse. Thus, it is very important that you respond promptly once you are served with divorce papers.

My spouse sent a notice indicating a hearing date for a temporary parenting plan along with the initial divorce papers. What is the effect of a temporary parenting plan entered?

At the time of the hearing, the court will likely enter a temporary parenting plan based primarily on the declarations of the parties and collateral witnesses. The parenting plan will determine the visitation rights of both parents until the case is settled, a modification of the plan is entered, or when the matter is resolved at trial.

At the time of the court hearing for a temporary parenting plan, can’t I just appear at court and tell the judge my side of the story and be treated fairly on parenting issues?

Yes, but there are significant risks. However, most courts will make their decision based on the written record before them. This generally means they will only review declarations and affidavits that have been properly served on the other party and filed with the court. Most county courts have their own particular rules on how this is to be accomplished as well as time requirements. There are also mandatory forms that must be completed and presented properly to the court and the other party. It is critical to know how to properly respond or the court may not consider your testimony (whether oral or written).

My former spouse is not complying with the visitation provisions of the parenting plan. What can I do to enforce the plan?

If the violation of the parenting plan is significant and your former spouse is not willingly complying with the plan, you may consider bringing a motion for contempt. A motion for contempt is basically a request to the court to enforce a prior court order and for the court to try to coerce the other party to comply with the parenting plan with the use of fines, sanctions as well as imprisonment.