Indiana Mother and Father have Daughter. And separate.
Father has no contact with Mother or Daughter for several years.
Mother receives public assistance for herself and Daughter.
Then Father goes to prison to begin serving a twenty year sentence for armed robbery.
Mother has not initiated any contact with Father and has never pursued child support from him. Similarly, Father has not initiated any contact with Mother or Daughter and has never pursued any relationship with Daughter.
The state files proceedings to recover child support and birth-related expenses from Father and insists upon Mother’s cooperation.
Father files for visitation and timesharing with Daughter.
The Indiana family court orders:
- that Mother provide Father with an annual two hour visitation with now eight year old Daughter every summer at the prison where Father is confined
- that Mother “encourage” Daughter to write to Father, and draw pictures and the like for him
- that Mother allow Daughter to receive communications and gifts from Father
Mother reportedly takes no action to comply with the family court order for timesharing and visitation.
Father files a motion for contempt to enforce the family court parenting order and to penalize (sanction) Mother for her alleged disobedience of the family court visitation order.
The family court holds Mother in contempt of the court’s order … but rules, in effect, that all will be foregiven if Mother promptly complies with the court’s timesharing order now.
Mother is also reportedly experiencing financial distress and, as a consequence, transportation challenges.
Mother apparently fails to comply with the family court parenting order.
The family court acts to enforce its order of contempt … and sentences Mother, Daughter’s only caregiver, to six months in jail.
Mother engages a family law attorney to defend her position and seek relief from the court’s contempt orders. Mother’s family law lawyer undertakes several different legal procedures, but Mother cannot afford to have her family law attorney see the measures all the way through.
As a result, Mother represents self (pro se) in court. And loses on all counts.
The family court credits Mother with time served and requires Mother to serve one additional weekend in jail. Provided that Mother complies with the family court’s visitation order.
The family court makes it clear that it is prepared to escalate enforcement measures if Mother does not comply.
Mother plans to do her time … and then to seek free legal assistance to fight the family court’s timesharing and visitation orders.