Parenting time is the legal term that refers to the actual time spent with a parent. It is sometimes referred to as access, contact, residential time or visitation. Most legal decision making (formerly known as custody) and parenting time problems present themselves during the dissolution of marriage or divorce of a couple, but legal decision-making issues can arise at any time or between parents who were never married. It’s also important to note that legal decision-making and parenting time concerns and issues do not necessarily go away once the divorce is final. Parents will often have disagreements regarding the child’s health, welfare and education, residency, and the amount of time each parent gets to spend with the child. In these situations, parents who feel the orders are being violated often wonder what the Court can do to enforce the parenting time agreement or order.
What can the Court do when a parenting time plan is violated? When there’s a violation of a parenting time order, the parent should file a request for help with enforcement. Arizona state law requires the Court to take action when violations occur. The Court has access to a number of options when dealing with a violating parent. Some of these options include:
- The Court may order additional parenting time to make up for missed time in the past due to violations of the order.
- The Court may order the violating parent to attend education classes that address the issue at hand.
- The Court may order the violating parent attend counseling.
- The Court may find the violating parent in contempt of Court (which results in accompanying fines).