Absolutely. You should never interfere with your child’s other parent’s parenting time. Your parenting order is a court order. Even if you think you have a very good reason for denying parenting time, you could face serious consequences. Instead, you should seek to have the parenting order modified.
Under Arizona law, there are several possible consequences for violating your parenting order without good cause:
- Contempt of court — this generally means a fine until you agree to comply but could, in some serious cases, mean jail time
- A civil fine of up to $100 for each violation
- A court order that you to make up the missed parenting sessions
- A court order that you must take parent education at your expense
- A court order that the family attend counseling at your expense
- A court order that you attend mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution at your expense
- Any other court order that the judge believes is in the best interest of your children
In addition, you could be required to pay your ex’s court costs and attorney fees associated with the violation.
If your ex files a petition for a hearing to review your alleged noncompliance with the parenting order, the court will hold a hearing within 25 days. This hearing could be with a judge, court commissioner or another person appointed by the court.
Co-parenting is a challenge for many parents, and there can be circumstances under which you may truly need to deny parenting time. In general, you should only do so if you feel certain that serious abuse or neglect is imminent. Even then, you should be very cautious. Discuss the situation with your attorney. If there is any opportunity to consult with the family court before you deny a parenting session, you should take that opportunity.