During a divorce or legal separation, parents often establish a parenting plan which outlines how they wish to care for, support, and raise their children. The parenting plan typically includes provisions for child custody, child support, visitation schedules, and childcare arrangements, and both parents are required to adhere to the terms of the plan. In the event that one party does not follow their expected parental responsibilities, the other party may be eligible to take legal action to modify or enforce the parenting plan.
At Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O., we are committed to offering knowledgeable and clear legal guidance in complex family law matters involving the enforcement of parenting plans. Our seasoned Nebraska family law attorneys are available to discuss your unique situation and inform you about your options to adjust or enforce an existing parenting plan. We're proud to serve clients in Lincoln, Nebraska, and throughout Cass County, Seward County, Lancaster County, Saline County, Otoe County, Gage County, and Saunders County.
Enforcement of a Parenting Plan
When a divorce order is issued, the Nebraska court expects both parents to comply with the provisions and terms of the parenting plan, child custody, or child support order. When one parent violates the conditions of the divorce agreement—for instance, defaults on child support payments or denies the other parent's visitation rights—the affected parent may turn to the Nebraska family court to help remedy the situation. The first step (after contacting an attorney) to enforcing a parenting plan or child custody order is to file a motion in court seeking enforcement.
Enforcing a Custody Order in Nebraska
When a parent violates the child custody order, the other parent can bring a motion for enforcement of the child custody decree against the delinquent parent. This is referred to as a contempt action. The purpose of the action is to protect the custody and visitation rights of the filing parent and hold the delinquent parent in contempt.
If you can successfully prove that the other parent willfully disobeyed the child custody order, the court will enforce the existing parenting plan and punish the delinquent parent. A practiced attorney can help complete your forms and instructions and provide the necessary details you need to seek enforcement of a child custody order.
Modification of Parenting Plans
However, parenting plans are not set in stone. A change in circumstance, the parent's situation, or the child's need may make the existing parenting plan inappropriate. Here are some common reasons to modify a parenting plan:
increase or decrease in the paying parent's income
danger or neglect of the child
change in work schedule
increase in child's needs and expenses as they grow
failure to comply with the court-ordered visitation schedule
a new job that makes it difficult to monitor, support, or care for the child
any situation that causes undue hardship on the child
death of a parent
A trusted attorney can enlighten you about the requirements to modify a parenting plan or custody order and guide you through the legal process involved.
What’s more, in order to modify a parenting plan or child custody order, the requesting parent must show that:
There has been a material change in circumstances since the last parenting plan was ordered.
The proposed modifications to the parenting plan are in the best interests of the minor child.
Factors the Court Will Consider
Additionally, in order to determine whether to modify the parenting plan or not, the Nebraska court will prioritize the child's best interests. Here are the factors that will be considered by the court to determine if the proposed modification is in the best interests of the child:
the child's reasonable wishes or preferences
the health, emotional development, and safety of the child
the existing relationship between the child and each parent prior to the custody order
the ability of the parent to provide a safe, proper, and continued quality of contact
the overall health, well-being, social behavior, and welfare of the child
if the child is able to attend school regularly and continuously
any evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect in the household
Notwithstanding the parent's wishes, the ultimate decision to modify the existing parent plan rests solely on the court. A knowledgeable lawyer can help file your modification petition and present your case diligently at the hearing, and we at Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. will support you every step of the way. Reach out today for guidance.
Furthermore, a parent may need to relocate after a divorce for various reasons, such as starting a new family, new job, career opportunities, education, or moving closer to loved ones. According to Nebraska law, a parent moving out of state must notify the other parent through a written notice.
If the other parent doesn't approve the move, the relocating parent may file a petition seeking permission for parental relocation. A relocation hearing will be scheduled to determine whether the move is in the child's best interests.
What To Expect at the Relocation Hearing
What's more, both parents are required to attend the relocation hearing. In order to approve the relocation, the presiding judge will consider the following factors:
the reasons of each parent for seeking or opposing the relocation
whether the move will improve the child's welfare and quality of life
how the move will affect visitation between the non-moving parent and the child
the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of the child
the possibility of the move to improve the custodial parent's income
the child's reasonable preference provided that they are mature and of sufficient age
whether the move will increase or reduce tension between the child's parents
the relationship between the child and each parent
the quality of life in the new place
the child's ties to the extended family, community, and school
A reliable child custody attorney can represent you intelligently at the relocation hearing and help protect your family's best interests.
Strong & Compassionate Legal Guidance
Even after a marital dissolution, parents are still required to support and care for their children. However, when one parent violates the terms of the parenting plan, seeking enforcement or modification may be the ideal option. At Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O., our attorneys have the diligence and expertise to advise and guide clients through the complex procedures involved in changing or enforcing a parenting plan.
We can analyze your circumstances and explore your possible legal options. Whether you want to modify or enforce an existing child custody order, visitation schedule, or child support arrangement, our team will provide the trusted advocacy and detailed legal guidance you need. Above all, we will work diligently to address your needs and concerns and help you negotiate a feasible parenting plan that will be in your family's best interest.
Contact us at Anderson, Creager and Wittstruck, P.C., L.L.O. today to schedule an initial consultation with experienced divorce attorneys. Our reliable team has the personalized guidance and support you need every step of the way. We're proud to serve clients in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the surrounding areas. You don’t have to face this alone, so reach out today.