After your divorce, your custody agreement and visitation schedule legally outline how you and your ex will care and provide for your children. It takes two parents and a great deal of flexibility to make a child visitation plan successful. But what do you do if your ex isn’t sticking to your court-ordered schedule?
A huge source of frustration in many visitation plans is when a non-custodial parent is chronically late, reschedules frequently or fails to show up at all. It not only disrupts your life, but it also sets your children up for hurt or disappointment. If you have tried being reasonable with your ex and they continue to disregard your plans, there are a few actions you can take to resolve the issue.
Talk to them
Even if the last thing you want to do is talk to your ex, your first step should be addressing the problem with them directly. Try to stay calm and focus on the issue at hand. Remind them that you both want what’s best for your children, and both agreed to a schedule that must be honored.
Communication can go a long way. You may discover that your ex’s lateness was unintentional, or that changes to their daily schedule no longer work with the parenting plan. In these cases, asking them to try to be on time or revising your visitation schedule together could put an end to the problem.
As soon as your ex starts making a habit out of breaking your visitation plans, you should begin documenting proof. Record every time the other parent fails to show up punctually or at all to scheduled visitations. You’ll want to keep track of details such as the date, time and any relevant correspondence you have with them.
Technology can be your best ally if your ex isn’t showing up when they should. Social media posts, texts and emails always have time stamps. Should you need to take the issue to court, well-documented evidence of a pattern will come in handy.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your ex still isn’t complying with the visitation schedule, you could work with a mediator before taking the matter to court. Mediation involves a neutral third-party that helps you and your ex come up with solutions together amicably.
The benefits of working with a mediator are it’s more cost-effective, it promotes collaboration with your ex and it takes less time to settle issues than it does in court. With mediation, you can revise your parenting schedule together or determine consequences for what happens the next time your ex is late.
Navigating visitation schedules with your ex after divorce can be trying for both you and your children. If your ex isn’t doing their part, it’s essential to know that you have options.