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Which acts may be considered violations of a parenting plan?

Parents who are not married typically have to comply with the terms of a parenting plan established or approved by the court. These plans lay out the rules with which parents must comply in regards to when they will have custody or visitation with their children.

When parents stick to these plans and fulfill their obligations, there may be very few disputes that arise. However, if one or both parents violate a parenting plan, the situation can get very contentious and upsetting for everyone involved, including the kids.

Parents have certain rights when it comes to child custody in Tennessee, and with these rights come obligations to each other and the children. If a parent fails to observe these rights or comply with their obligations, they can be penalized. Some of these violations could include:

  • Keeping children from speaking with the other parent on the phone or through the mail
  • Failing to pick up kids at the agreed upon time or place
  • Refusing to return children to the other parent
  • Attempting to take children out of the state or country without permission
  • Not disclosing critical information about a child's medical condition in a timely manner

These and other violations of child custody or visitation are taken very seriously, even if they seem minor. In many cases, courts will penalize non-compliant parents with a loss of parenting time, fines and/or even criminal consequences in some cases.

Parenting plans are put in place so that parents and children can all be very clear on what can be expected when two people share custody. They can be a critical resource in helping to make the transition to co-parenting easier on everyone. Unfortunately, some parents disagree with the terms or conditions of a plan and take matters into their own hands.

If you have been accused of violating a parenting plan or are dealing with a non-compliant parent, you need to understand how and when these plans can be enforced. Discussing your situation with an attorney can help you identify your options and seek an appropriate resolution.

Source:, "Tennessee Child Custody Laws," accessed on July 22, 2015

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