Parenting Time Enforcement

Your children are only young once. When your parenting time is being cut short, or when parenting time is not provided at all, it’s time to talk to an experienced family law attorney.

There is a myriad of reasons why a Parent might attempt to withhold parenting time and not all of them would hold up in Court. For example, under Oregon law, a parent’s time with his or her child is independent of his or her child support payment history. However, not everyone knows this, and it is a frequent mistake to withhold parenting time until child support is paid, or to withhold child support until parenting time is made up. Neither of these strategies is endorsed by Oregon law or the courts.

Another example is a parent’s concern—founded or not—that the other parent has a problem with alcohol or drugs.  What starts out as concern, can sometimes morph into a control mechanism.  Please do not be surprised but people do not always have pure motives!  Courts do not let parents make unilateral decisions to withhold parenting time.

We sometimes see a new step-parent wishing to cut off contact with the former spouse, and that motivates an unauthorized decrease in parenting time.

Parenting time enforcement is a remedy that provides an expedited hearing (supposed to be within 45 days of filing and service) to determine if a parent is violating a court-ordered parenting time plan.  It is not always that simple!  A lot of times these enforcement actions turn into squabbles over what the parenting plan “should be,” not what it actually is.  This takes skill, strategy, and advance preparation.

If your Parenting time is being withheld, call McLain Legal Services today! Not only can we help you navigate the situation and explain your rights, but we can also attempt to work with all parties to get things back on track.  Often a carefully worded letter from an attorney is a great first step.

It also happens sometimes, that a concerned parent feels an urgent need to protect a child.  There are legitimate circumstances when this is necessary, but the court will not approve of a unilateral move to block the other parent from seeing the child.  There are mechanisms in the law—“immediate danger” orders or protective orders—that can provide a safer way to protect the child from a demonstrable threat.

Credibility is key, which is why you should talk to an experienced lawyer before you make any decisions or put a plan into place.