Parents in Georgia are encouraged to develop parenting plans and visitation schedules that are in the best interest of their children. Unless a parent is unfit or there is a reason to restrict contact, the courts prefer to see plans that promote continued and frequent contact between parents and their children. 

If the parents cannot agree to a child custody arrangement, the court will order a custody and visitation plan in the children’s best interests. 

Examples of Violations of Parenting Plans in Georgia 

Unfortunately, some parents refuse to comply with the requirements and terms of a parenting plan. They may be angry about how child custody and visitation were decided. They might want to punish their ex and use their children to accomplish that task.

Ways that a parent may violate a Georgia parenting plan in a child custody case include, but are not limited to:

Parental Alienation 

A parent may engage in conduct to manipulate a child’s feelings toward their other parent. Parental alienation is a serious matter that needs to be addressed immediately. 

Parents are typically prohibited from discussing each other with the child in negative terms. The parent should promote a close relationship between the child and the other parent.

Blocking Communications 

Typically, a parenting plan outlines how a child will communicate with their parents when they are with the opposite parent. A parent may block communication by turning off phones, denying computer access, and blocking text messages. 

Denying Visitation 

A parent may openly deny visitation, but it is generally more subtle. A parent may intentionally schedule activities for the child during the other parent’s visitation times. They may tell the parent that the child doesn’t want to visit them and tell the child that the parent doesn’t want to see them.

Taking Children on Unauthorized Trips

Some parenting plans require parents to notify each other if they are going to take the child on a trip, especially if they leave the state. Parents may violate this provision and even tell their children to keep it a secret so they can do fun things. 

Being Late or Missing Drop Offs and Pickups

Parenting plans may outline where and when parents exchange children for visitation. Some parents need to meet in a neutral location to avoid conflicts. A parent may intentionally be late to exchanges to shorten the other parent’s time with the child or inconvenience the parent. 

What Are the Consequences if a Parent Violates a Parenting Plan in Georgia?

The court can hold a parent in contempt for violating the terms of a parenting plan. Judges have broad discretion in ordering penalties for violations. The penalties often depend on the severity, frequency, and type of violation.

Examples of potential penalties for violating a Georgia parenting plan include:

  • Requiring a parent to attend parenting classes
  • Ordering a parent to pay the expenses and costs incurred by the other parent because of the violation, including legal fees and court costs 
  • Ordering additional visitation and parenting time to the non-offending parent
  • Imposing a fine on the offending parent for violating the court’s order
  • Changing the arrangements for the exchange of the child
  • Order the offending parent to serve time in jail

Sometimes, the court may change the custody arrangements to give the non-offending parent primary custody. This option is usually reserved for repeated offenses and appalling behavior. 

Violating a parenting plan could also be illegal in specific situations. For example, if a parent takes a child out of Georgia without authorization, they could be charged with parental kidnapping

What Should I Do if My Child’s Other Parent Violates Our Parenting Plan in Georgia?

The offending parent might not be aware they are violating the order. They might have misread the order, forgotten the terms, or misunderstood it. A simple reminder of the terms of the parenting plan could be sufficient to resolve the problem.

However, you may need to work through the courts if an amicable resolution is impossible. A Lawrenceville child custody lawyer can help you file a motion for contempt with the court. If the court agrees that the parent violated the parenting plan, the judge may impose one or more penalties. 

If you believe your child is in immediate danger because their parent is violating custody and visitation orders, you can contact the police for assistance. You may also contact the police if you feel anxious or unsafe about meeting with your ex to pick up your child.

One of the best steps is to contact a Lawrenceville child custody attorney if you begin to have a problem with your ex regarding the parenting plan. An attorney will explain your legal rights and options to determine the best strategy to deal with the issue.

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to Crystal Wright Law online by visiting our contact us page.
You can also visit our law firm at 440 S. Perry Street Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.