Parenting Time Plans Exist for a Reason, But You May Need to Take Legal Action if Your Ex Won’t Abide by the Terms in New Jersey

What to do if Your Child's Other Parent Won't Comply with the Parenting Time Plan in Point Pleasant NJOne of the most challenging aspects of divorce for everyone involved is agreeing on a parenting time plan that works as well for the parents as it does for the children. Balancing work, school, and other activities challenges even the most cooperative and flexible parents, not to mention couples who can’t agree on anything. Structure, schedules, and stability are the keys to maintaining the mental and emotional well-being of children of divorce. Parents sometimes forget that when a parenting plan is not honored, the only real victims are their children.

The purpose of parenting time is to support the child-parent relationship with both parents. A good plan provides information about what happens during vacation time, holidays, birthdays, etc. Even when a parenting plan is flexible, organized, and detailed, things can go pear-shaped when a parent decides not to adhere to it. This occurs frequently when the custodial parent wants to influence or punish the non-custodial parent (NCP) by subtly restricting the time spent with the child. Non-custodial parents must remember that they have the right to enforce the parenting time agreement, ensuring their relationship with their child is not compromised.

Behaviors That Undermine a Parenting Plan

Some behaviors that indicate a refusal to respect the parenting plan are arriving late when dropping the children off or picking them up. Picking them up from school on a non-agreed-upon day, taking them on vacation out of turn, leaving the state without giving notice, and scheduling medical appointments, sleepovers, playdates, and other events without consultation or regard for the NCP’s parenting time are also violations.

Effects of Regular Tardiness in Shared Parenting Arrangements

Everyone encounters the occasional snafu in their schedule that makes them more than 5 or 10 minutes late for pick-up or drop-off of the children. Traffic jams, unexpected work-related issues, flat tires, a slow restaurant kitchen, crowded malls, etc., can cause a parent to arrive later than expected. Still, when it becomes a regular occurrence, there are consequences for such behavior. The court can obligate the offending parent to pay for extra childcare if necessary. The custody agreement can be modified to give the other parent compensatory time to make up for the lost visitation. Pick-ups and drop-offs may be moved to a public place rather than a residence. Additional consequences include contempt of court charges and fines.

When The Parent With Custody Disturbs the Scheduled Parenting Time

New Jersey’s family courts emphasize protecting the child’s best interests, including spending time with parents and extended families. The NCP has the right to spend quality time with their child as stipulated in the parenting time agreement ratified by the court without interference from the custodial parent. If the plan isn’t followed or a modification is required, changes cannot be made arbitrarily and must be filed with the court. Suppose the NCP’s parenting schedule is consistently interrupted by activities the custodial parent schedules. In that case, the NCP has a right to file a complaint with the court requesting a plan modification or sanctions on the other parent.

Methods for Resolving Parenting Time Conflicts

Coming To Agreements Prior To Appearing In New Jersey Courts

The courts’ dockets are full to overflowing with divorce, custody, and support cases. Judges prefer that embattled couples devise their own solutions and bring them to court. If an agreement is unfeasible, two hearings will be conducted. In the first hearing, the parent seeking the modification must prove a substantial change in circumstances, and the existing order should be changed. The second hearing determines whether the changes are in the child’s best interests.


Mediation is a superb method of resolving parenting time conflicts without going to court. It is a voluntary process in which parents discuss their concerns and decide on a plausible remedy with the assistance of a professional mediator. This process can save time and money and avoid messy court battles. Mediation is an excellent choice if the goal is to resolve the existing conflicts for the benefit of everyone involved, particularly the children.


If the parents’ relationship is amicable, a conversation outlining any concerns regarding conflicting schedules is certainly apropos. Keeping a list of the dates and times the parenting schedule wasn’t adhered to can contribute to the conversation, but only when presented as facts rather than an accusation. It is conceivable that the custodial parent was unaware that their overstepping was a problem. Approaching the issue with a problem-solving perspective and leaving emotions aside can result in a mutually beneficial agreement in a brief time.

Focusing on the Children’s NeedsRights if my Ex is Ignoring our Parenting Schedule in Howell, NJ

When discussing parenting time, respect, honesty, kindness, and flexibility are key attributes. Remembering that children need stability and harmony and want to spend time with the two people they love most should motivate them to settle differences in an environment of compromise and maturity. Using child custody as a way to manipulate or punish a former spouse is selfish at worst and counterproductive at best. Even when the parents’ relationship is rocky, parents can make decisions together by keeping their eyes on the prize: their children.

Secure Legal Guidance from Our South Jersey Law Firm

When custody problems arise, consulting an attorney should be the first step. You should learn your rights and the many solutions to resolve this conflict. This doesn’t mean that you and your former spouse can’t make decisions independently, but having an experienced family attorney gives you the benefit of knowing how the law can help you.

Our family law attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm are seasoned professionals who know how to negotiate a suitable parenting time plan while staying focused on your children’s best interests. Your children’s happiness is paramount, and we want to help you construct a plan that gives them time with you to have great experiences and make treasured memories in Manchester, Red Bank, Eatontown, Tinton Falls, Sea Bright, Lakewood, Middletown, and across Monmouth County and Ocean County. We will defend your rights to spend time with your children, free from unscheduled interruptions or late arrivals. You deserve nothing less than the opportunity to be an essential part of your children’s lives.

Call us today to schedule a consultation at (732) 812-3102 or contact us online to discuss how we can defend your right to parenting time free of conflicts.