Exercising Your Parenting Rights

One of the most disheartening circumstances a family attorney is asked to assist a client with is when one parent is denying the other parent time with a child. Oftentimes this circumstance arises when one parent has determined that simply because the other parent was not a good domestic partner, that also equates to that person not being a good parent. Or even more disheartening, when one parent is still perhaps hurting from the breakup of a relationship, they spend years using a child to punish the other parent. Such behavior is not only harmful to the child but is oftentimes blatantly in contempt of an existing court-ordered parenting plan.

Another common frustration expressed by a parent is that “I pay child support, but I cannot see my child.” Each parent must understand that not receiving child support is not a reason for preventing the other parent from seeing a child. Also, if a parent is denying the other parent possession and access to a child after the court has ordered a parenting plan, there are very serious consequences, including a fine of up to $500 for each violation and/or 6 months of jail time for the parent that is in contempt of an existing court order. And, yes, family law judges have and will order jail time for moms or dads who refuse to comply with existing court orders without a justifiable reason.

Parenting Plans:  Possession and Access Options

  • Standard Possession Order
  • Expanded Standard Possession Order
  • 2/2/5/5 Possession Schedule
  • 50/50 Possession Schedule
  • Week-On/Week-Off Possession Schedule

Modification of Parenting Plan:  Special Points of Interests

  • Material and substantial change
  • Change in residence or military status
  • Domestic violence, protective order, child abuse, or drug use
  • Voluntary relinquishment of primary care

Enforcement of Parenting Plan

If you are being denied access to your child in violation of a court order, consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options. If a non-parent person has taken possession of your child without a court order, you can petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus.

Additionally, if you believe it is in the best interest of your child(ren) to spend more time with you, and the other parent will not agree to you having additional time, you may want to consider petitioning the court for a modification of your current parenting plan, especially if you have a Standard Possession Order that does not allow you overnight Thursday and Sunday periods of possession.