This blog has discussed on previous occasions the importance of parenting plans. Among other things, a detailed parenting plan ensures that each parent of a child gets the opportunity to see and build up a relationship with their children.
It is of course equally important that, once a court approves a parenting plan or creates one for the parties, the parents both obey the plan. While of course sometimes circumstances come up where a parent cannot follow the plan to the letter, it too often happens that one parent decides that the other parent is not entitled to visits with his or her children, even though those visits are ordered by the court.
Courts in Arizona have a number of legal options available to them to enforce parenting time when one parent is not willing to follow the court's orders in this respect voluntarily. In more serious cases, a court can hold the disobedient parent in contempt of court, meaning the court can send the parent to jail as punishment for violating the court's orders.
In other cases, the court may issue additional orders requiring make up visitation, even if this additional time causes inconvenience to the other party. The court may also make other changes in the custody or parenting time order. The court may also impose monetary penalties on a parent or require the parent to pay for parenting classes, counseling or mediation. Parents who violate parenting time orders will likely have to pay the attorney fees of the other parent.
Before a court can take these actions, however, it is necessary for a Phoenix parent who has been deprived parenting time to file a request with the court that it take action. The next step will be a hearing in which the judge will hear both sides of the case and make a decision.