What can my husband and I do if his ex will not follow the parenting time guidelines and is dictating our visitation and holiday time?

UPDATED: Sep 4, 2012

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What can my husband and I do if his ex will not follow the parenting time guidelines and is dictating our visitation and holiday time?

Also, his daughter does not have medical insurance and has never been to the dentist and her mother refuses to let my husband put her on his insurance so she can keep collecting welfare. His ex does not work, does not go to school, and isn’t wanting to allow us rights. They have been to court many times and nothing has been done for my husband. He has paid all his child support and has had the same job for a year and a half. How do we go about this? Should we take this to court? Do we need a lawyer to actually win?

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Family Law, Indiana


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It helps if you actually have an attorney to help you win.  They know what motions to enforce and motions for contempt can be filed how and when. 

You have a couple of issues-- so I'm going to start with visitation.  The court order controls.  If she is not allowing visitation at the time ordered by the court, then your ex- can file a motion for contempt or a motion to enforce.  Your husband can also ask for "makeup" time and some courts will award it.

The second issue is insurance.  As long as the divorce decree doesn't say that he can't, he can and should put the kids on his insurance if he can afford it.  If the kids are on an assistance program, the state could potentially go after your husband for supporting that part of his children's lives.  If the divorce decree ordered him to provide insurance coverage for the children, the he needs to get them on his insurance asap to avoid any issues if/when he goes before the judge to enforce his rights.  He needs to appear with "clean hands." 

The third issue is medical attention-- kid not seeing a dentist.  Most divorce decrees will lay out the duties and rights of each parent (to direct education, to direct religion, and to consent to medical treatment)  Crack out the decree and read it.  IF the decree or final order gives both parents the right to consent or direct medical treatment, then he can take the kids to a dentist, regardless of whether she likes it or not.

You didn't specifically list it as an issue, but you do raise concerns about her financial and mental stability.  If she continues to use the kids as a ploy for revenge, he may want to visit with a family law attorney to get a pulse of the local judges and what his chances would be of getting full custody.  It sounds like he has some good things going for him that would favor an award of custody, including:  a good job, a job with benefits, and support from a spouse.  If he starts making sure the children are taken care of medically, like arranging and taking them to their appointments-- that will help as well.  If he can show a more stable life, then he may be able to get full custody  and not have to mess with the other issues. 

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