Visitation Rights For An Incarcerated Parent

Divorce Attorney Angela FoyQuestion:

My fiancé has custody of his child because the mother abuses drugs and alcohol and was recently put in jail. My fiancé never took the child to see the mother in jail, and now the mother is threatening to file contempt papers against him for not allowing her visitation even though she is in jail.

Can he be found in contempt for not allowing the biological mother her parenting time even though she was incarcerated?


A contempt motion asserts that your fiancé is violating a court order. That order may be the placement order, if the child’s biological mother is awarded time and he has denied her that time. However, because of her circumstances, it is unlikely.

Your fiancé’s defense is that the mother has failed to exercise her time with his daughter be being incarcerated, and as a result of those circumstances, it may be appropriate to modify the custody and placement order. I do not practice in Indiana, so I can only speak in generalities based on my experience. You should speak with an attorney in Indiana to discuss your options.

While she may be able to file a motion, as you are probably aware, filing the motion alone does not decide what the court will do. It is likely that the court would only find contempt if there are previous orders that he should take the child to see her mother in jail or at the work release center.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in your state to further discuss the specifics of your situation. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients nationwide. Thank you for submitting your question.


Angela Foy is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisc., office of Cordell & Cordell where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Foy is licensed to practice in the state of Wisconsin, the U.S. District Court, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin. 

 Ms. Foy received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Notre Dame. She then continued on to receive her Juris Doctor from Marquette University.

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