Co-parenting from different households can be difficult when it comes to schedules and the children’s activities. When these activities begin interfering with a non-custodial parent’s time with the children, it can become a source of contention. This blog discusses interference with parenting time and the custodial parent’s scheduling of children’s activities during the non-custodial parent’s parenting time.
The place to start when answering this question is the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. The Guidelines mention the scheduling of children’s extra-curricular activities. “Parents should attempt to achieve a balance when scheduling extra-curricular activities. A reasonable amount of extra-curricular activities can enrich the child’s life and strengthen the bond between parent and child through these shared experiences. On the other hand, excessive participation in these activities could serve to diminish the quality of parenting time. Parents should take care to ensure these activities do not unreasonably infringe upon parenting time with either parent.”
Some questions to ask yourself here then might be: Are the activities the custodial parent is scheduling unreasonably interfering with your parenting time? Are the activities being scheduled during your time activities that your child enjoys? Can you participate in these activities with your child? Even if you cannot coach the team or lead the activity, can you watch and encourage your child from the stands or sidelines, help him or her prepare for the next meeting in some way, or enjoy discussing the activity together later? It is important to remember that extra-curricular activities can provide children with opportunities for exercise, and help them improve social skills, build self-esteem, and develop a sense of belonging. However, if the activities the non-custodial parent is scheduling are excessive or unreasonably interfering with your parenting time, you may need to take action.
The Parenting Time Guidelines discuss resolution of parenting time problems and provide that when a disagreement occurs, “both parents shall make every effort to discuss options, including mediation, in an attempt to resolve the dispute before going to court.”
So, the first action you should take then is to talk to your child’s other parent and attempt to resolve the issue. Keep in mind that this conversation should be about the child, not about you. Try to remain focused on your child’s experience with the activities and how it makes your child feel or how it affects your child’s well-being when he or she is over scheduled or misses time with you because of specific activities. You may want to talk to your child about his or her feelings concerning the specific activities and the activity schedule first, and if need be, do some research to determine if the activities being scheduled during your parenting time are available on other days, when it does not interfere with your time. When approaching the child’s custodial parent, remember, he or she may not have scheduled activities during your parenting time on purpose or to interfere with your time. But even if it was intentional, playing the blame game rarely accomplishes anything.
If you are unable to reach a compromise with your child’s other parent to get some of the activities rescheduled or to end your child’s participation in them, you may need to consider asking the court to intervene. Before doing this, be sure that you have made every reasonable effort to resolve the issue with your child’s other parent. Going to court costs money and does not always get you the result that you want. In the case of activity schedules, the court will concern itself with the child’s best interests, and not with who is scheduling the activities on who’s time, or brief interferences with a non-custodial parent’s parenting time.
If you believe that the activities are not in your child’s best interests or that the interferences with your parenting time are significant and unreasonable, you may need to ask the court to modify your parenting time and/or hold your child’s other parent in contempt for intentionally interfering with your parenting time.
Interference with parenting time can be a complicated issue when it involves extracurricular activities that may be important to your child’s health and well-being. If you are having issues with activity scheduling, the attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help you protect your parenting time rights. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.