Trial Court is Limited in the Ability to Discipline Children for Not Seeing a Parent

by Annette Burns on August 24, 2015

A Maine court has rejected a trial judge’s attempt to order specific punishment for children if they refused to visit a parent.  Violette v. Violette, Maine, July 30, 2015.  Because the trial judge felt that Mother was not strict enough on the children, the court ordered that if a child refused to visit with Father, the children would be required to stay in their rooms without access to internet, television, telephone, text messaging or video games.   Mother appealed on the grounds that this order violated her fundamental right to parent the children.  The Court of Appeals reversed, as “the trial court’s attempt to fashion a creative solution to this challenge exceeded the bounds of the court’s discretion .  .  . “ and the appellate court did not reach the constitutional question.      It was not reasonable for the court to determine specific discipline and leave no discretion to the parent.

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