Parenting time issues do happen. Sometimes they happen inadvertently other times they are deliberate. When they happen because you truly didn’t remember whose weekend it was or how to split up the next holiday, then you should just do what you can to work this matter out with the other parent, before getting the Courts involved.
It could be a situation where you may not even know how to split holiday time between you and the other parent. If that is the situation, then I recommend that you review the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. While the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines won’t tell you exactly what you should do in every situation, they do offer many suggestions on how to split holidays and summer breaks. The Guidelines even do a good job of adjusting suggestions based on the child’s age.
When the situation arises where a parent is deliberately interfering with your parenting time, then that is a whole other matter. Most instances this may occur because the non-custodial parent is behind on child support. If that is your situation, then you need to remember that under Indiana law, child support and parenting time are two separate issues and will be handled as such by Indiana Courts.
If you have tried to work with the other parent regarding your visitation schedule, but this is to no avail, then you really need to consult with an attorney to understand what rights you have under your current visitation order. There are several options available to you in this type of situation, but usually the most effective is the “Rule to Show Cause.”
The “Rule to Show Cause” is a legal instrument that allows you to bring an opposing party before the Court to inform the Court that this person is violating its order. It will be up to the Court to determine whether or that that is indeed the case. If the Court does find that the person has intentionally violated the Court ordered parenting time, the Court can find the person in Contempt of Court. Being in Contempt of Court means that the Court is going to coerce you into cooperating with its order. This can be done through fines, jail time, etc.
While a “Rule to Show Cause” can be an effective tool in coercing the other party into complying with the Court’s parenting time order, it should be a last resort. Parenting Time is something that is best handled by using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. Many times this alternative form of resolution can help you develop a more effective parenting time plan that will work well for everyone including your children.
The Law Office of Jeffery M. Haupt is located in South Bend, Indiana and helps people handle family law issues such as divorce, parenting time, child support, paternity, child custody and criminal matters such as DUI/OWI, drug offenses, traffic offenses, etc. The information in this blog should only be used for educational purposes and not be construed as legal advice. Nothing in this blog creates an attorney-client relationship between me and any readers of this blog. No attorney-client relationship is created until you have a document from me saying so. DO NOT POST ABOUT CASE PARTICULARS IN THE COMMENT SECTION.