Parenting Time Complaints
Parents are encouraged to cooperate and work together regarding parenting time disputes and issues. By remaining flexible and considerate of each other, both parents will benefit and most importantly the children will have the most optimal environment to maintain a close, continued, and healthy relationship with both parents.
However, in the event that the parents are unable to resolve parenting time disputes, the Friend if the Court will address such issues. A parenting time complaint must be made in writing, however, there is no specific form that must be used. Parenting time complaints should be sent to the Friend of the Court within 30 days of the alleged violation.
Information to Include
The parenting time complaint should include the following information:
- The case number
- The names of both parties
- A proposed resolution of the complaint
- The specific complaint, including the date(s) of the denied parenting time or a description and date of the alleged violation
Attempts to Resolve the Complaint
The Friend of the Court may schedule an appointment with the parents to attempt to resolve the matter. After meeting with the Parties the Friend of the Court Investigator may send out a proposed order under the twenty one day rule in an attempt to resolve the matter.
The Friend of the Court may alternatively send a notice of the alleged violation to the other parent with a request that the other parent respond in writing within 21 days. Many parenting time complaints are resolved by these procedures.
In the event that the parenting time complaint is unable to be resolved by the foregoing procedures, the matter will be scheduled for a Referee Hearing. If the parties are unable to agree on a resolution before the Referee, the Referee will issue a proposed Referee's Order under the 21-day rule.
If an objection is filed with the Court Clerk within 21 days after the issuance of the Referee's Proposed Order, the matter shall be scheduled for a hearing before the judge assigned to the case.
How to Avoid Parenting Time Complaints
The vast majority of parenting time complaints can be avoided by the following:
- Follow the parenting time orders issued by the Court.
- Try to work out parenting time scheduling matters with the other parent. Generally, if you are flexible, the other parent will be flexible with you.
- Do not disparage the other parent in the presence of the child(ren).
- Do not expose the child(ren) to second-hand smoke, drug or alcohol abuse, or criminal behavior.
- Ensure that the children are not left in the care of irresponsible or unsafe third parties.
- Keep the other parent advised of medical, educational, and other important information regarding the child(ren).
- Ensure that both parents are in agreement of holiday parenting time schedules.
- Be prompt for all parenting time exchanges and ensure that you advise the other parent if you will be late due to some unforeseen emergency or other situation.
- Avoid using your child(ren) to communicate with the other parent.
- Remember that the issues of child support payment and parenting time are separate and distinct issues. Parenting time can not be denied by one parent because of the nonpayment of child support by the other parent.