Parenting PlanIn an ideal world, parents who are not involved in a relationship can still work out and comply with their parenting plan that covers child custody and visitation. The reality is that you could encounter a situation where your ex violates the arrangement, potentially putting strains on your schedule, employment, and other aspects of your personal life. Fortunately, Illinois’ statute on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time also provides you with tools when your child’s other parent is not following the plan. You can bring the issue back before the court by seeking enforcement, though there may be other alternatives for resolving disputes.


Considering the importance of your parental rights and possible court action with enforcement, it is critical to retain experienced legal counsel when your ex is not following the parenting plan. Chicago child custody lawyers deal with violations of court orders on a regular basis, while you could put your interests at risk by trying to handle things yourself. A description of the basics should convince why representation is so crucial.

Initial Considerations

At the outset, it is important to assess whether enforcement action is the best strategy for violations of the parenting plan. Being late to pick up or drop off your child, skipping out on visitation one time, or allowing your child extra internet time might not be grounds to take your ex to court. On the other hand, a petition for enforcement may be necessary if your child’s other parentis guilty of the following, along with many other possible wrongful acts:

  • Repeatedly misses parenting time
  • Takes your child out of Illinois for an extended period
  • Authorizes nonessential medical care
  • Allows the child to miss school

Enforcement Options

Based upon the considerations above, an option for addressing violations of the parenting plan might be working out an agreed modification. If tardiness or missing visitation is related to your ex’s employment, a change to the parenting time schedule could resolve the issue. You might even benefit from participating in mediation to compromise on a child custody modification. In fact, mediation is often a prerequisite to seeking court intervention. It may still be necessary to go to court, but a judge will likely approve an alteration that serves the child’s best interests.


When disputes remain, you will need to initiate legal proceedings by filing a petition to enforce child custody and/or parenting time. Along with the petition, you will need solid evidence of the incidents, omissions, and misconduct by your ex. Phone records, texts, emails, your own statements, and many other forms of proof are useful. You must also include what you are seeking through enforcement, such as:

  • Requesting sole child custody, i.e., sole responsibility for decision making
  • Levying a penalty for violations, including payment of your attorneys’ fees
  • Supervised visitation
  • Other remedies based upon your circumstances

Our Chicago Child Custody Lawyers Can Assist with Enforcement

For more information on your options when your ex violates the parenting plan, please contact Chicago divorce lawyer Michael C. Craven. You can set up a no-cost consultation by calling (312) 621-5234. After hearing your story, we can discuss strategies for enforcing the court’s order on child custody.

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