Friday, September 18, 2009

When Does Non-Custodial Parent's Action Justify Stopping Visitation?

In Indiana, we have two statutes on when visitation can be stopped. One applies to divorce case and the other to paternity cases. See my Paternity and modifying visitation - Part 2 on the laws.

What had not crossed my mind to write about was how to deal with the problem instead of publicizing the law. Dick Price of Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County, Texas writes about how to deal with the problem in his What if the Other Parent is Irresponsible?

1. Discuss the situation with your ex. Don't overlook the obvious, direct solution. But, since you may not have any real leverage, you need to work on being diplomatic and conciliatory, no matter how hard that may be for you. It is certainly cheaper, faster and more effective if you can do something by agreement. There is also less chance of drawing the children into the middle of the dispute. Of course, you will probably be dealing with an emotional issue, so that will make it harder to be "nice". You can get some ideas from your attorney or a counselor to help you plan your approaches for the discussion.
2. Request that you and your ex meet with a counselor to discuss the issues. Hopefully, a few sessions will make it possible to come to an agreement in a safe atmosphere.
3. Here, in Tarrant County, Texas, you can contact Family Court Services at the courthouse and set up a meeting with an Access Facilitator. A Facilitator is a specially trained social worker who helps the parties meet and work out differences in how to raise children and share time with their children. Good News -- they are not only qualified, experienced social workers, but they are FREE!
4. Go to a mediator. This can be done with or without attorneys. You and your ex can split the mediator's fee. If one side uses an attorney, the other party should also bring an attorney to equalize the negotiations. Mediators have a very high success rate, so they are an excellent option.
5. Hire an attorney and go to court. This is the most expensive choice, but could be necessary if your ex is uncooperative.
6. Try using Collaborative Law. Both sides would have to agree to use the process, if it is to be used. Your ex might agree to it to keep the matter private, to get expert help or to be able to deal with the issue on his/her own schedule, instead of a court's schedule. The main point to keep in mind is that both parties would need to utilize attorneys trained in Collaborative Law, so you should ask about that when you are hiring an attorney. Using the process may minimize the damage to the relationships between the parties, which is important for the children.
Remember, if you want more information about retaining me for a case, please give me a call at 765-641-7906.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent post. I am a father that has custody of his son and we have been going to counseling regularly, she has coached me on how to deal with these situations in an excellent manner!