Most divorced parents of minor children in Florida want to attend special events involving their children. When a parent must adjust to a new life where they do not see their child as much, being part of the child’s extracurricular, athletic, musical and other kinds of activities may take on even more significance. What happens when both parents want to be at a choir concert or basketball championship? One parent will have visitation rights that evening, but can the other one attend?
First, what does the parenting plan say? The answer may be clearly spelled out, but if it is silent or ambiguous, or if one parent wants to attend an event unaddressed in the plan’s provisions, the parents may be able to negotiate a solution for that event.
The importance of the parenting plan
When parents divorce, a parenting plan is a crucially important part of the divorce decree because the plan determines all parenting time, custodial and visitation matters. The judge must approve the negotiated plan if they feel it is in the child’s best interests, in which case it is incorporated into the divorce judgement.
The divorcing parties can negotiate the provisions of their parenting plan in which case they could set out in detail how they will handle attendance at children’s activities. If they are cordial, they could agree that both can attend no matter whose day it is for parenting time. They could even address details like the seating arrangement or expectations regarding positive interaction at the event.
If there is conflict or tension between the parties, they could come up with a creative solution. They could agree that both can attend but not sit together, that they will alternate event attendance or that they will attend by type of event – one parent gets sports and the other artistic performances, for example.
What if a conflict develops over attendance?
It is a good idea to consult with a Florida family lawyer with questions about the right to attend children’s activities, especially if the parenting plan is unclear or silent. A divorced parent who disagrees with how the parenting plan handles this question can seek legal advice about trying to renegotiate or whether grounds exist for potential modification.
If a parent is not adhering to the parenting plan, which is part of the final divorce order, such as by attending a child’s activity in violation of the parenting plan, the other parent may choose to seek a legal remedy. For example, there may be options for seeking enforcement of the court’s order or for contempt of court.,