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How can an Indiana parent enforce a parenting time order?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Family Law And Divorce |

A parenting time order issued by the Indiana family courts outlines how parents share time with their children. Most parents who divorce or separate work together for the overall benefit of their children. They avoid fighting with each other and carefully follow the parenting time order issued by the court.

Sadly, not all adults put the needs of their children first after a divorce or separation. Sometimes, one parent is unorganized or irresponsible, which leads to them struggling to adhere to a parenting time order. Other times, the interference in parenting arrangements might be intentional. Some parents use parenting time as a way of punishing another adult. Parental alienation occurs when one adult tries to cancel or limit the parenting time of the other and disparages that parent to the children.

How can someone not getting the time that they deserve with their children enforce a parenting time order in Indiana?

Families may need to go back to court

If one parent has proven incapable of following the parenting time order or is unwilling to do so, it may be necessary to take the issue back to family court. Judges have the authority to enforce a parenting time order through a variety of different mechanisms. They could grant one parent additional time with the children in consideration of the time they previously lost. They could modify the parenting plan to reflect the failings of the other parents. In more extreme cases, a refusal to follow a parenting plan could lead to contempt of court penalties for one parent.

Documentation is key to enforcement efforts

Many parenting time matters are difficult to resolve in part because the courts have little to consider other than the claims of each parent. Typically, a parent seeking to enforce a parenting time order may have a better chance of succeeding when they can prove consistent interference on the part of the other parent. Written notes about canceled parenting sessions and screenshots of text messages or emails can show a pattern of canceled parenting time. Particularly if one parent declares their intent to interfere in the relationship that the other has with the children, documenting those statements can help convince the court to intervene in a parenting time dispute.

Adults who have already gone to family court once often prefer to avoid going back if possible. However, support from the courts may be the most effective means of protecting a relationship with minor children when the terms of a parenting time order are not being honored. Being willing to speak up about parenting time violations can potentially help someone get the time they deserve with their children.