What Happens if You Violate the Terms of a Parenting Plan in Illinois?
Divorces, and the accompanying disputes about parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities, are exhausting. Unfortunately for some parents in Illinois, the troubles do not end with the divorce. Some parents refuse to adhere to the terms of the parenting agreement, causing problems for the children and headaches for their other parent.
But parenting agreements are legally binding orders, and there are strict rules regarding their implementation. Parents cannot simply decide which parts of the agreement they will not follow. In addition to the harm done to the children and the working relationship with the other parent, violating the terms of the agreement can result in serious legal consequences.
Enforcing a Parenting Order
To bring violating parents into compliance, Illinois allows parenting order violations to be tried as a civil and a criminal offense. The first two times a parent violates the order, it is considered a minor offense. Even with a minor offense, the violating parent can face changes to the parenting schedule, fines, and even jail time. The third time a parent knowingly violates a parenting order, the violation is a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries larger fines and potential prison time.
Whether prosecuting violations civilly or criminally, the case must be brought before a judge. This means the parent who is bringing the case will need to prove that the violation occurred. Documenting evidence might include text messages, emails, or other communication, but it is important to remember that recording phone calls without the other party’s knowledge is generally illegal in Illinois.
Successfully proving a violation occurred also requires showing that the violation was “willful.” The parent bringing the case must prove the violation occurred, but the parent accused of the violation must show that it was not wilful. If the violating parent had a good enough reason for violating the order, then they may not be held in contempt.
Importantly, violations can only exist when there is a clear portion of the parenting agreement that is not being followed. For example, if a child is required to be with their father on Wednesday afternoon, but the parenting agreement does not stipulate how the child will get to the father’s home, then neither parent can be guilty of violating the order for not picking up or delivering the child to the father’s residence.
Speak with a St. Charles, IL Parenting Plan Enforcement Attorney
If your former spouse has stopped following the legally binding parenting plan, there can be serious consequences. An experienced Kane County divorce order enforcement attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. will listen to you, consider the options with you, and create a strategy to bring your ex into compliance. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. Call our office at 630-584-5550 to schedule your free initial consultation.