Is Your Ex Failing To Adhere To The Parenting Plan?
If you’ve been battling your ex over visitation, you may be missing out on valuable time to bond with your child(ren). Not only is this unfair to you and your child(ren), it is also likely in violation of a court order. You do have recourse, in the form of a Motion for Family Access.
When to File a Motion for Family Access
The Motion for Family Access is designed to address parents whose parenting plan specifies explicit and unambiguous visitation times and days. Plans that simply refer to “reasonable” visitation will be difficult to fight, simply because the definition of “reasonable” is in the eye of the beholder. But a plan that lays out particular days and times for visitation allows for challenge when one party is not adhering to the plan. When filing such a motion, you will need to establish that there is no good explanation for the denial of your visitation.
How to File a Motion for Family Access
Your experienced family law attorney can help you with this process. In order to proceed with this motion, it will be necessary to contact the court that has jurisdiction over your child’s custody, which is generally the court that issued the custody agreement. From the county clerk’s office the necessary form (FA10) can be obtained for a small fee. (Fees can be waived if you cannot afford them through the Forma Pauperis provision.)
What Happens Next?
Once the paperwork is filed with the court, the papers will be served on your former spouse and they will have the opportunity to file a response. From there, the court may refer you to dispute resolution. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to prepare for a court appearance. There, each side will be given a chance to present the facts as they see them, providing documentation and subpoenaing witnesses as desired. In the event the court finds that your ex has interfered with or denied your rightful visitation, a variety of remedies are possible:
- Compensatory time with your child(ren) may be ordered to make up for time that was denied earlier;
- Counseling may be ordered for your ex, your child, and/or you at the cost of your ex to address the damage to relationships due to their actions;
- Your ex may have to post bond to ensure compliance with the parenting plan;
- A fine of as much as $500 may be assessed to your ex;
- Your ex may be required to pay all of your court and attorney’s fees.
Getting it Right
You’ve no doubt been frustrated as time passes without access to your child. Why wait any longer? At Courtney & Mills, LLC, our Springfield family law attorneys are here to help you make things right. Contact our Springfield office for a confidential consultation today.