How to Handle the Pitfalls in Child Visitation After Divorce
Even when divorce is the best option for you and your ex, it's not always easy to navigate child visitation. After all, when you're not getting along with your ex, it can be difficult to communicate effectively and avoid arguing. So if you're having trouble with child visitation after divorce, you might run into a few common problems. Here are some ideas on how to solve them.
Late Drop-off and Pickup
If it seems like your ex is constantly running late when it comes to picking up or dropping off the kids, you're likely annoyed, and understandably so. When someone makes you wait, you feel like they're wasting your time and disrespecting you. They're also disrupting your life, since late pickup and drop-off can make you late for events.
But yelling at your ex and even insulting him or her for being late isn't the answer. This response will only make him or her defensive, causing an argument between you two in front of the kids. If you'd like to avoid this, try gently reminding your ex that the schedule was set up the way it was for a reason. Mention that if it no longer suits your ex, maybe you can get it adjusted to a different time that works for you both. Use logic, not emotions, when dealing with this issue. It might turn out your ex really would appreciate a different pickup or drop-off time, solving the problem.
Some parents always have an excuse as to why they can't see their kids during their visitation time. Maybe they're sick or have to work at the last minute, or maybe they don't have transportation anymore. It's also possible they just don't feel like having the kids around that day. Regardless, it's often disappointing for the children.
That's why you should try to set your anger aside and focus on how the kids are feeling when their other parent cancels on them. Talk to them and make sure they know it's not their fault and has nothing to do with them. Yelling at or insulting your ex around them won't help, because they still love that parent and might feel caught in the middle. Instead, spend time comforting your kids. Your ex is the one who will have to figure out how to make it up to them later.
Life happens and schedules change, which means you're likely to have to deal with some adjustments to visitation at some point. But they should go through the court, not be on a whim. If one parent is constantly trying to change the schedule at the last minute, suggest that you go back to court to make the changes.
Of course, once in a while you're going to have to change the visitation schedule temporarily, such as around the holidays. You and your ex should be able to work this out when it happens. But at the same time, consistency is important for children, so you and your ex should be following the visitation guidelines as much as possible if you want to avoid confusion.
Refusal of Visitation
Some parents try to keep the other parent away from the kids, even though they're legally allowed to see them. If you're tempted to do this, note that you could be held in contempt of court for not following the guidelines set for child visitation. Even if your ex is behind on child support, you still have to let him or her see the kids, as that is a separate issue.
If your ex is the one refusing visitation to you, contact a lawyer immediately. At the Law Offices of H. William Edgar, we have experience handling family law cases of all kinds and can help you solve your child visitation issues. We have offices located in Riverside, Temecula, Anaheim and Palm Desert. Let Edgar Family law assist you with all family and matrimonial law issues.