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Order prohibiting boyfriend from spending time with children too broad

December 12, 2013

The longtime boyfriend of a mother of triplets should be allowed to continue his relationship with her children as long as it does not undermine or damage the relationship with their father, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. As such, the judges reversed the order preventing the boyfriend from spending time with the children alone.

Charity and Cory Lindquist divorced when their triplets were around 3 years old. Charity Lindquist began a relationship with Robert Criswell and she and the children lived with Criswell for nearly seven years before moving out when the children were 9. Charity Lindquist and Criswell continue to date.

After she moved out, Charity Lindquist continued to allow Criswell to spend time with the children and take them on family vacations without her.

At a court hearing regarding parenting time, Cory Lindquist said he wanted to spend as much time with his children as he can, but his ex-wife refused him chances to do so. He also believed the relationship between the triplets and Criswell is undermining his relationship with the children.

The trial court found Charity Lindquist in contempt for refusing parenting time with her ex during Christmas 2012 and then ordered that Criswell is not allowed to spend any time one-on-one with the children unless Charity Lindquist is present because Criswell’s relationship has interfered with the children’s relationship with their father.

Charity Lindquist appealed in Charity Lindquist v. Cory Lindquist, 23A04-1306-DR-277, in which the appellate court reversed the portion of the order preventing Criswell from spending alone time with the children, citing Section I(C)(3) of the Parenting Time Guidelines. Criswell has developed a meaningful relationship with the children, so he should be able to continue to see them as long as it is in the children’s best interests. There are no allegations of abuse or neglect. But, this relationship should not undermine or damage the triplet’s relationship with their father, Judge John Baker pointed out.

Cory Lindquist should first be given the opportunity to exercise additional parenting time before Criswell is allowed to spend unsupervised time with the children.

The judges affirmed the portion of the order finding Charity Lindquist in contempt for denying parenting time last Christmas. They remanded with instructions that the trial court craft an order permitting the children to maintain their relationship with Criswell and to spend unsupervised time with him because it is within the children’s best interest to do so, and so long as that relationship does not interfere with or impede Cory Lindquist’s opportunity to exercise his parenting time in accordance with the guidelines.
 

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