A parenting plan in Indiana generally divides both decision-making rights and parenting time between the two adults responsible for a minor child. Once the courts approve a parenting plan, both parents are bound to do their best to uphold the terms set in the document.
Unfortunately, not everyone does their best to abide by the terms in Indiana parenting plans. Some parents openly violate parenting time schedules and other standards set forth in parenting plans. What can someone do when they aren’t getting their parenting time and access to their children as guaranteed by their court-approved parenting plan?
Documentation is critical to enforcement efforts
Sometimes, a parent intentionally denying the other time with the children will openly declare that they do not want to give the other parent time with the children. Especially when such statements are in writing, such as via text message or email, they can help demonstrate that there are issues with one parent not upholding the custody order.
Parents will also typically need to have documentation of canceled, shortened and interrupted parenting sessions. In most cases, a parent will need to show up to the custody exchange in order to claim that the other parent canceled it without their permission. Especially when one parent frequently reduces how much time the other has with the children and does not give them an opportunity to schedule makeup time, the courts may recognize that enforcement is needed.
Judges have the authority to enforce or modify parenting plans
Once there is a paper trail establishing that one parent has failed to uphold the parenting plan and act in the best interests of the children, they can potentially request a hearing in front of a family law judge. Even if the parent blames the children’s wishes, the judge could still hold them accountable. If the judge agrees that the other parent has violated the parenting plan and that their actions were not in the best interests of the children, they could take multiple different steps to correct the situation.
They can order makeup parenting time so that the parent denied access has plenty of time with the children in the future. They could modify the existing parenting plan to increase the overall percentage of time and possibly even the legal decision-making authority allocated to the parent previously denied contact or time with the children. They could also potentially reprimand the parent who is violating the parenting plan or even hold them in contempt of court.
Too many parents who have been denied time with their children simply give up because they don’t understand their rights. Educating oneself about parenting plan enforcement options with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can help those who are dealing with a contentious custody scenario in which they don’t get adequate time with their children as guaranteed by an existing order.