The ideal situation for divorced parents with children is that they work together and share parenting time equally. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always occur. It is critical for children to have proper parenting time. Sometimes you need help in enforcing parenting time in Arizona. If any limitations are established, they need to be necessary and beneficial to the child. The A.R.S. 25-414 provides solutions for when parenting visitation is interrupted. Its purpose is to ensure an ideal setting and provide mechanisms that handle any kind of unfair disturbance.
Submitting a Complaint
If a situation does arise that makes you feel like your parenting time is being unfairly interrupted, you can file a complaint. Submitting a verified complaint is the best way to ask the courts to enforce your Parenting Plan. Once the complaint is submitted, a hearing will be held within 25 days, and the violating parent must appear. If the conclusion is that the parent had no justification for interrupting the other parent’s time, the judge will decide one of the following:
- Offending parent is contempt of court.
- A visit is owed to make up for disruption of time.
- Offending parent must pay for family counselling or parent education.
Other options for the family include:
- Mediation in hopes of developing better relationships to defer future conflicts.
- Acquiring a parenting-coordinator who will help with situations they can’t agree on.
After the hearing, the violating parent will also have the responsibility of paying all court fees.
Sole vs Joint Legal Decision Making
If there are multiple occurrences of a parent interrupting visitation time and he or she has sole legal decision making, we highly encourage you to seek modification. The court will look at the evidence and provide the best outcome for the child. If they find that the current situation isn’t effective, they may suggest changes to the visitation agreement. Pursuing joint legal decision making requires careful planning and preparation. It should never be done if you are trying to punish the other parent. The only motive to attempt joint decision making is wanting to give your child the best possible outcome.
Abiding by the Law
Not complying with the law is never smart, especially when Arizona courts provide several ways to modify and make changes to agreements if necessary. Parent-child contracts include: Parenting Plans, Legal Decision Making Policies, and Parenting Time Agreements. You can find all of these documents here. Such contracts verify the agreements that have been made by the parents. Under the circumstance that no agreement can be reached, the court will make the decision. If a parent still chooses to not comply, Arizona law will carry out the necessary consequences.
What Matters Most
Arizona has always followed the doctrine of keeping “the best interest in the child.” The ideal is for a divorced family to make an agreement and stick to it. The court has found this to be the second best option to married parents. The child’s future is predicted to be better when parents convey a “united front.” Often times, parents will use their child as a weapon toward each other. Not only does this create tension for the parents, but more importantly, the child. To ensure a child’s success when living in a divorced family, they must create and stand by plan.
At times, the established agreement can be harmful to the child, which is why Arizona has created means for modification. Speaking with a lawyer may help with the complication of things and with filing requests for modification, but you can file the necessary documents on your own. Modifying agreements in a structured environment is the best way to be effective.