January 11, 2009

Expedited Parenting Time Enforcement

We previously blogged about contempt of court as a tool for parenting plan violations.  Contempt is a broad remedy for violations of court orders, but is has some shortcomings for enforcing parenting plan violations.  The burden of proof is higher than for most types of family law actions, making close cases much harder to prove.  It can take many weeks to get in front of a judge.  While contempt remedies are powerful, they are not narrowly tailored to fixing parenting time issues.

The legislature created an enforcement remedy specifically for parenting time violations.  ORS 107.434 provides for an enforcement remedy specifically for parenting plan violations, as opposed to the general remedy of contempt.   Expedited parenting time motions have some potential benefits over contempt actions:

  • The burden of proof is lower than for contempt, making it easier to prove close cases.
  • You can generally get in front of  a judge faster than with contempt. The court must hold a hearing within 45 days unless the parties agree otherwise.
  • There are unique remedies designed specifically for parenting plan violations.

In addition to any other remedy the court may impose to enforce the provisions of a judgment relating to the parenting plan, the court may:

  • Modify the provisions relating to the parenting plan by (1) Specifying a detailed parenting time schedule; (2)Imposing additional terms and conditions on the existing parenting time schedule; or (3) Ordering additional parenting time, in the best interests of the child, to compensate for wrongful deprivation of parenting time;
  • Order the party who is violating the parenting plan provisions to post bond or security;
  • Order either or both parties to attend counseling or educational sessions that focus on the impact of violation of the parenting plan on children;
  • Award the prevailing party expenses, including, but not limited to, attorney fees, filing fees and court costs, incurred in enforcing the party’s parenting plan;
  • Terminate, suspend or modify spousal support;
  • Terminate, suspend or modify child support as provided in ORS 107.431; or
  • Schedule a hearing for modification of custody as provided in ORS 107.135 (11).

Talk to an experienced family law lawyer about what enforcement remedy may be best for your situation, or if you are served an enforcement motion.