When you go through a divorce and set up a custody schedule, you expect your spouse to stick to it. If you’re meant to pick up your children on Tuesdays at 5 p.m., they should be ready to go at that time.
Of course, you have to be reasonable. Sometimes people will get stuck in traffic or your child might have an extracurricular activity get out late. Your child might get sick and need to stay at the other parent’s house until the next day or to skip your custody day and make it up at another time.
Issues like these require you to be flexible, but there is a point where the changes become unreasonable. For example, if you have tried to pick up your child on time the last four weeks and each time they were unavailable, you may start questioning if the custody schedule is right for your situation.
The other parent should not withhold custody
Whether you’re late with a child support payment or the other parent just doesn’t like you, there is no reason to withhold custody outside of abusive situations. If the other parent is making excuses time and time again for your child not being ready for your visitation time, you need to take action.
It is possible that the other parent could be alienating your child from you, or they simply may not want you to have custody time.
What should you do if your children are never ready on time?
If your child or children aren’t ready for pickup times when you’re there to get them, it’s important to talk to the other parent about the schedule and to discuss reassessing it. You could find that an adjustment to the schedule is all that’s needed to make the transitions smoother.
If the other parent is being unreasonable or continues to try to claim a child is sick or doesn’t want to see you, it’s time to look into your legal options. You can ask a court to enforce the custody order to get it back on track and to help you keep your relationships with your children strong.