Dealing With An Absentee Co-Parent? You Have Options.
You and your ex share two tweens, an 11-year-old and 13-year-old. You got divorced two years ago, and you were awarded primary physical custody, with your ex getting visitation weekly from Saturday mornings to Sunday evenings. Over the last year, your ex has shown up for visitation three times. Your kids have come to expect that he won’t show up and you are tired of the disappointment and mind games. Your kids need consistency and a constant presence in their lives. You never know when he will decide to visit and you are tired of the inconvenience. Is there anything you can do?
Why is Visitation Not Taken?
Before you take legal action or go to court, try to communicate with your ex. Maybe you can send an email and ask them if something else is going on. Are they busy with a new job or having transportation issues? Do you both need to choose a new pick up and drop off location? If he or she can’t visit, could they let you know in advance instead of not showing up at all? Even if they can’t show up on time, he could still call to let your daughters know he is thinking of them. Maybe in communicating you identify a simple fix or solution. However, if your ex ignores you, refuses to communicate or thinks there is nothing wrong with the status quo, you may need to take further action. You can’t be expected to put life on hold every weekend waiting for him or her to show up, only for them not to. At the same time, it is emotionally trying on your children getting their hopes up once a week only to feel crushed all over again.
Revising a Custody or Visitation Order
If your ex refuses to take visitation or has decided they will no longer pay child support, you need to take legal action immediately. Filing a motion for emergency custody and visitation hearing can get you in front of a family court judge quickly. In your motion, explain the chronology of what has happened and how your ex has refused to see your children. Keep a timeline or calendar of each day they blew off visitation. Also keep records of past due child support payments you are owed, called arrears. Your ex cannot simply decide to stop paying. If they experienced financial hardship, they would need to file a motion with the court indicating their financial circumstances have changed. Even then, courts are reluctant to lower child support guidelines. Judges are not reluctant, however, to compel a parent to pay child support that is past due. In addition, if your ex refuses to see your children, this should be reflected in a new child support order. If they don’t want visitation they don’t have to take it, but they also can’t demand for things to go back to normal months later. Your children deserve consistency and reliability, which means something has to change.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are divorced and share children, you understand the highs and lows that come with co-parenting. Even with an existing parenting plan agreement and a court order in place, some parties refuse to adhere to the terms of the agreement. If your ex-spouse or ex-partner is no longer seeking visitation with shared children, picks and chooses when they decide to see their children or refuses to pay child support, you can file for contempt in court. Your children deserve a constant parental presence in their lives. If your co-parent refuses to compromise and does not prioritize time spent with their kids, then the court order should reflect that. Contact West Palm Beach criminal attorney William Wallshein today for help.