It can be extremely upsetting to have another parent work against you while you’re trying to stick to a custody schedule. You may have a schedule that requires your child to be at your home at 6 p.m. on weekdays, for example, but the other parent may keep pushing for 6 p.m. or 6:45 p.m. thinking that it doesn’t make much of a difference.
However, this does impact your custody time, and it’s reasonable to be upset if the timing is impacting your child’s homework schedule, bedtime or other aspects of their home life. The other parent did agree to the schedule that you have, and even if not, it’s a court-ordered arrangement that should not be ignored.
What should you do if the other parent is negatively impacting your custody schedule?
To start with, if the other parent continues to alter the custody schedule without permission, you should look into talking about it. Ask them to sit down and discuss why they’re having a hard time sticking to the schedule. Explain why you feel it’s important to stay on the same schedule, too.
If they explain that they don’t have enough time to pick up your child, spend time together and bring them home, or if there is another reason why the schedule isn’t working for them, then you can address if a custody modification would be appropriate.
If there is no reason other than just running late or not wanting to return your child after a visit, then you may want to look into speaking with the court about adjusting custody or putting protections in place to prevent parental kidnapping or other issues you may be concerned about.
When should you reach out for help?
If the other parent stops picking up your child, refuses to return them to you or is making plans to relocate with them against your wishes, it’s time to look into taking legal action. You need to record all instances where the other parent violated your custody schedule so that you can ask for them to be held accountable if you take them to court.