Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines provide a presumption that both parents are qualified to raise their children, and that children benefit the most when they have quality time with both parents. In some circumstances, however, there are valid reasons for supervising or eliminating the parenting time rights of one of the parents. These circumstances generally consist of the following:
- Child abuse (both physically and mentally), particularly where there have been instances of past abuse against the children,
- Ongoing criminal activity taking place in front of the children, such as drug abuse,
- Severe psychological problems of one parent, which make it unlikely or impossible for the parent to care for the children, or which would impose a danger that the children may suffer harm, and
- Unsafe living environment for the children.
These are only some of the circumstances which may necessitate parenting time exclusion or limitation; other circumstances may also exist that require court consideration.
What Happens if a Situation Exists that May Pose a Threat of Harm to the Children?
When a condition exists that may pose a threat of harm to the children, it’s important that the court be informed of such situation, either in the course of the initial parenting time determinations or thereafter whenever any such situation arises. Because there is a presumption that children will benefit by spending quality time with parents, often there are intermediate parenting time actions that may be ordered by the court that are short of revoking parenting time completely. For example, the court may deny the parent with the issue from keeping the children overnight, and/or supervised visits may be required.
Any court determinations usually will involve the consideration of various factors, such as the age of the children, the nature of parenting issue involved, and the level of any type of danger to the children.
Termination of Parenting Time
Some parenting issues may be so severe that the termination of parenting time should be strongly considered. Past child abuse (and especially sex abuse) are high at the top of this list.
How I Help in Parenting Time Limitation Cases
If your ex-spouse has engaged or continues to engage in activities that may be harmful or pose a danger to your children, please call me. It is important for the welfare of your children that they be protected at all times. When I learn about your situation, I can advise you as to what immediate actions are appropriate in terms of protecting the interests of your children.
In the event of imminent danger to your children, such as when an intoxicated ex-spouse arrives to pick up the children for parenting time, you should call your local police department immediately. Additionally, Indiana law requies you to call the police if you have reason to suspect that child abuse has occurred.