When it comes to enforcing child support orders the federal government has provided ample funding to the states through the Title IV-D program. This money funds county prosecutors’ offices which provide assistance to parents entitled to receive support in trust for use by the children. Often enforcement is in the form of a county attorney filing an action for contempt to bring the alleged contemnor before the court. During these hearings the prosecutor will sit with and provide assistance to the parent alleging noncompliance with the support payment order. Courts typically calculate an arrears to be paid incrementally and impose an income withholding order if the parent is employed. A finding of contempt may also be entered which may result in jail time if payments are not made.
Such mechanisms do not exist for enforcing parenting time and custody matters though. Typically a child who has been denied his or her right to Parenting Time has to rely upon the parent to whom time was denied to seek enforcement of the court’s order. Police more often defer to the courts by stating that it is a civil matter. Prosecutors will tell a parent that there is nothing they can do. Court staff will tell a parent to hire an attorney. An aggrieved parent may quit paying support for a child he or she doesn’t get to see and instead dedicate that money to hiring an attorney.
I have proposed that Title IV-D funds for child support enforcement also be used to enforce parenting time as that may prove to be a more efficacious use of the funds. I have previously tendered such a proposal to federal legislators and am currently working with one now in an attempt to give life to this proposition.
If such a fantasy were to be realized I want to know how you would want the money spent. What service would you want for yourself? What resources would help? What could be done to help before getting to court so that your child could actually get the time he or she deserves with you?
This may not be an unachievable dream as it may first appear. On the state level I have been tapped to assist officials in developing a program to aide parents with Parenting Time issues. I cannot offer any details at this time due to a confidentiality requirement. However, I would like to gather information from you about Parenting Time problems. Particularly I would like to receive feedback on the following:
~ Conflict over interpretation of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines [include version used],
~ Denial of Parenting Time including particulars of how the court order was violated,
~ Steps taken to attempt enforcement of Parenting Time,
~ Response by officials to a complaint of denial of Parenting Time,
~ What immediate and further assistance would you like following denial of Parenting Time, and
~ An explanation of any relationship between support payments and the denial of Parenting Time.
Contact me HERE to submit feedback. All submissions will remain confidential. However, you should include your contact information if you would like to be considered for providing testimony or to provide further comment for these state officials. I will compile this information and present it to them to help in formulating a program to aide the children of parents denied Parenting Time. If you would like to receive updates on the rollout of the program please sign-up for my child custody updates using the form below. Once the program has been developed I will receive advance copies of any press releases about it and post that information concurrent with the state doing the same.
Please share this and feel free to add comments as I will read and compile those also. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
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