How can I get more parenting time with my child?

Divorce Attorney Angela FoyQuestion:

My wife and I are separated and she has been awarded temporary sole custody and has had this custody for over a year now. But I watch our child when she is working or going to school, which means I’m watching our kid the majority of the time. Now she is withholding the child from me because of a recent argument.

Is there anything I can do as far as seeing my daughter more often or to get more parenting time? I have asked her why she is doing this and her reason is because she simply does not want me watching her anymore!

Answer:

How you approach extending the time you have with your daughter depends on what the current orders are and where in the court process you are.  I can provide you some background information, but it is unclear from you description whether you are in the process of a divorce or another action addressing custody and placement.  Additionally, I do not practice in Arizona, so I can only speak in generalities.

You mention in your description that your wife has temporary sole custody, which is the right to make decisions for your daughter currently.  However, you do not mention whether the order awards you any placement or parenting time with your daughter.  If you are awarded time in the order, then the order can be enforced.  Denying you ordered time is punishable by contempt.  Sanctions vary depending on the circumstances, but they can include monetary penalties and jail time.  Many jurisdictions also allow for motions to enforce placement, which carry strict penalties, require the parent denying the time to pay the other’s attorney fees, allow for make up time with your daughter and the motions must be heard in court in shorter time frames.  These motions to enforce may be used even if the time you are allowed is not specified.  For example, if the order provides that you have placement at reasonable times upon reasonable notice, and then she refuses to provide you that time, you may still be able file a motion to enforce.

If you have not been awarded any placement or parenting time, then the court usually sets other requirements for you to complete before parenting time is awarded.  These requirements vary and stem from the reason CPS is involved, which you do not mention.  At the next hearing, the court would review the progress and decide what parenting time is appropriate under the circumstances, ultimately working towards a final order than will govern with the final judgment.  If that is the case, it is important to make as much progress as possible so that you are in a good position when the court is ready to review it.  Since CPS is involved, you may also have a social worker and guardian ad litem, both of whom may provide recommendations to the court.  Following these recommendations may also assist you when the court reviews the case.

The best way for your to approach extending your parenting time depends on many factors and the specific rules in your jurisdiction.  I do not practice in Arizona, so I cannot inform you as to the state’s specific laws.  You should discuss your case with a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction.

 

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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