How Parenting Time Factors Into Contempt Cases

parenting timeQuestion:

I work 40 hours a week, am a full-time college student and a drilling military reservist. I pay child support but often have to work or have drill on my visitation day.

My ex-wife refuses to work with my schedule and is threatening to have me thrown in jail. Is that possible? Can I be found in contempt because of work/school conflicts?


Utah divorce attorney Dena L. Morgan
Utah divorce attorney Dena L. Morgan

I am not licensed to practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general information concerning parenting time and visitation.

From your question, I am under the impression that your ex-wife is threatening to have you thrown in jail for failure to exercise your scheduled parent-time. I have never had any case where a party was thrown in jail or held in contempt for failing to exercise their parent-time.

However, I would advise you to try to negotiate a new schedule with your ex-wife; one that will work better around your busy schedule (and hers too). I would also advise you to seek make-up time when you are unable to exercise your regularly scheduled time.

Proper legal advice on this subject is going to be dependent upon what type of custody your Decree of Divorce gives you and your ex-wife.

If you have joint custody and you don’t exercise your parent-time, there is risk that your ex-wife could take you back to court to establish that she should have sole physical custody. If your ex-wife already has sole custody, the immediate risk is greatly reduced.

However, if you do not exercise your parenting time for a significant period of time (roughly six months or more), your ex-wife could petition the court to have your rights terminated.

Either way, it is likely in your best interest to try to establish a parent-time schedule that will work better. The two of you could attend mediation to try to work out a new schedule.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general parent-time tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your circumstances.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Utah divorce lawyer Dena L. Morgan, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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