Three "Must Do's" when you've been Denied Parenting Time
If you don't report it, they'll never know (or care)!
It never fails to happen, especially in child custody cases where the parents do not get along at all. The custodial parent uses the child:
- As leverage to get what they want
- To spite the other parent - creating a monster our of you
- To alienate the child from the non custodial parent
If the custodial parent is denying you your rightful parenting time outlined in your child custody order, then you need to take action now! You are your child's voice in court, and speaking on their behalf displays three things that puts you above the other parent.
- You are looking out for the best interests of the minor child
- You are not acting out of greed or revenge
- You want to maintain a close and continuing bond with the minor child.
To take action, you have to make sure that you are indeed, acting in the best interests of the child, and not out of revenge. A good way to make sure of this is by just writing on a sticky note, "I will act only in <Child's Name Here>'s best interests, and not out of spite or desire for revenge".
You also need to make sure that all your 'ducks are in a row', so to speak.
Taking Inventory of the Situation
What really happened? Do you know what exactly happened when the other parent denied you parenting time? Can you quote every word they said, word for word? Here are three ideas to make sure that you have exact and complete knowledge of what happened.
Recording for documentation purposes only
While using a voice recorder and submitting the recordings as evidence can be illegal if done the wrong way, you are free to record and use the recordings for your own documentation purposes. Using a recorder, you can document what was said by both you and the other parent word for word without missing anything
Using your cell phone camera for documentation
There are very specific survelliance laws in every state, as well as federal laws that clearly outline what is legal and what is not. Using your cellphone camera in the correct way can provide to the court, indisputable proof that you were at specific locations at specific times. The way you do this is by taking a picture of the surrounding area, perhaps a picture of yourself with a recognizable landmark in the background. You then send the image to your email address as you are standing there to place a date, time and image to prove you were at a location at a given time. If your phone tags the photos with GPS coordinates (Android and Iphones do this), the location will be stored in the EXIF data that is embedded in the photo.
Take a Witness with you
Although conventional and 'old school', having witnesses available that can testify on your behalf is the strongest and most powerful resource you have. The court systems are still very conservative institutions, and put a lot of weight into a reputable witness - far more than the other two methods described above. The witness can be family or friends, but it is very powerful to have the following:
- Public Figures
- Pillar citizens such as priests/clergy, police people (who can your friends as well outside of this interaction), business owners, etc...
- Social workers, lawyers and therapists
- Any other locally well-know and respected figures in your community
Let the Courts Know about the Denied Parenting Time
Call your court and ask them what the process is for reporting denied parenting time. Since you are not asking for legal advice, which the court employees cannot give, and you are only asking about the process, they will tell you what forms you will need to fill out, how to submit evidence as "exhibits" for review, and how to file. Since it is different from county to county, you will have to get the information from your county's court where your custody order is in place.
After filing the paperwork, the clerk will either assign a court date for you if you hand the forms in directly, or they will mail you a court date. Be advised, that the opposing parent and the parent's lawyer if they have one, will see your petition prior to the court date.
If you have done your homework, made sure that your arguments were air tight and provable, you should have reasonably good luck in court, even if you represent yourself.