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parenting agreement divorce order enforcement lawyerGetting through the divorce process definitely isn’t easy, but once you’ve signed the final divorce papers, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief and be ready to move on to better things. Unfortunately, if you’re a parent, the end of your divorce may not be the end of the problems with your former partner. Since the two of you will need to maintain contact and work together as co-parents to your kids, you may encounter new disagreements regarding parenting issues. If these disputes involve your ex’s refusal to follow the terms of your parenting agreement, you may be unsure of how to proceed, but you should know that you can take steps to enforce the terms of your divorce decree.

Options for Post-Divorce Enforcement

Before taking any drastic action, you may want to contact your ex-spouse to discuss your concerns. In some cases, a violation of your parenting agreement may have occurred because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and you may be able to work things out between the two of you and avoid these types of problems in the future. If either of you believes that modifications to your parenting plan are necessary, you may be able to use mediation to come to an agreement regarding changes to issues such as child custody or parenting time.

If, however, your ex has violated your parenting agreement on purpose, attempts to reach a peaceful resolution to the situation may not be helpful. Your ex may be committing parental alienation by trying to limit your time with your children, or acting out of spite and attempting to make your life as difficult as possible. In these cases, you may need to take legal action and ask the court to require your ex to comply with your parenting plan. If you can show that your ex purposely tried to interfere with your parenting time, you may be able to make the case for consequences including parenting time restrictions. Repeated violations could result in your ex being held in contempt of court, which could result in penalties such as fines or even time in prison.

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dads divorce law parenting agreementEven though divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, parents will usually want to do everything they can to protect their children and make sure their needs will be met both during the divorce process and in the years to come. If you and your ex can agree to work together as co-parents to do what is best for your children, this can help you avoid a great deal of stress and conflict. A well-crafted parenting agreement is key to successful co-parenting, and you will want to make sure your agreement addresses your family’s needs and protects your rights as a father.

Elements of a Good Parenting Agreement

Your parenting agreement, which may also be referred to as a parenting plan, should clearly describe how you and your ex will handle matters related to your children going forward. It should include terms addressing:

  • Legal custody - Your agreement should fully detail how you and your ex will share in making decisions about how your children will be raised. Some states refer to legal custody as the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and different areas of responsibility may be addressed, such as education, healthcare, and religion. You should be sure your parenting plan specifies each parent’s rights and responsibilities in making these decisions for your children.

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St. Charles father’s rights attorneyToday’s fathers are often much more involved in raising their children than those from previous generations. Married couples or unmarried parents are more likely to share in family responsibilities, and in many cases, both partners work full-time jobs, make decisions together, and cooperate on chores and household tasks. Unlike the stereotypical dads of the past who left most child-related duties up to moms, modern fathers will often play a vital role in caring for their children.

Unfortunately, when married parents choose to get a divorce or unmarried parents decide to separate, many dads feel that their role as a parent is minimized, and they may struggle with concerns that they will not be able to continue to be closely involved in their children’s lives. After years of changing diapers, making sure kids are properly fed and clothed, attending children’s activities and doctor’s appointments, helping with homework, and myriad other parental responsibilities, fathers will want to keep up this level of involvement and be the great parent their children deserve.

If you are getting divorced, or if you are an unmarried parent who needs to address the custody of your children, you will want to be sure you take the right steps to protect your father’s rights. By working with a Kane County family law attorney, you can gain a better understanding of your rights as a parent, the decisions you will need to make, and the best ways to reach an outcome that will provide for your children’s best interests. Some of the issues that you may need to consider include:

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