Most family courts now require parents to create a parenting plan when they separate from one another. It covers things like custody and visitation schedules, how child costs will be covered, how decisions about the child will be made and many other concerns.

After the divorce is final, some parents fail to abide by their parenting plan. Of course, you could haul them into court but this could not only become expensive, it will put you both on negative footing, making future co-parenting efforts more difficult.

If your co-parent isn’t following your parenting plan, before you take them to court, try some of these approaches:

Ask them if they have their copy of your parenting plan and remember what it said about whatever it is they aren’t doing.

For example, if they are not allowing you to call your child at their house, ask them in a non-accusative and caring way, “Do you have your copy of our parenting plan? If they say no, offer them a copy. You can even highlight problem areas and mention that you’ve pointed out some areas as a reminder of your agreement when you hand it to them.

If they say they have the plan and/or remember what it says, ask them what is preventing them from following it. Seek to understand.

Be prepared to hear anything and to let them finish before interrupting or responding in any way. What you say in response is going to vary greatly depending on what they explain the difficulty to be.  Some possibilities are:

  • He was not home when you called and I just forgot to have Joey call you back.
  • He was busy doing his chores.
  • I didn’t want his time with me to be interrupted by you.
  • I don’t see why you need to talk to him while he’s with me.
  • I really wish he never had to talk to you. You’re a bad mom (dad).

Watch the video to learn how to respond to each item in the list above.

Next week… Vacation planning for divorced and blended families – How to make it NOT a scheduling nightmare

Do you have other suggestions that you’ve seen work out well? Share them in the comments.

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