Ending a married relationship through a divorce is difficult for everyone involved. But, when children are part of the equation, it can be even more complicated. Parents must think about what is best for their children and how the divorce will impact them long term.
One of the most difficult decisions during a divorce is often determining custody arrangements. In some cases, one parent may be awarded primary custody while the other has visitation rights. In others, both parents may share joint custody. At the end of a lengthy custody battle, it can be refreshing to at least land on an agreement that both sides can live with. But unfortunately, some parents find that even after a custody arrangement is put into place, the other parent doesn’t always uphold their end of the agreement.
If you find yourself in a situation where the other parent is not taking their parenting time, it can be frustrating, scary, and confusing. You may feel like you have no recourse or are powerless to do anything about the situation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to rectify the matter.
- Keep a Record
If the other parent consistently fails to take their parenting time, it’s essential to keep track of the dates and times they were supposed to have the children. This can be helpful in showing a pattern of behavior that may be useful in court. Missing a time here or there for legitimate reasons is one thing, but if the other parent consistently fails to take their parenting time, it may be considered a form of parental alienation.
- Talk to the Other Parent
In some cases, the other parent may not be aware that they’re not upholding their end of the custody agreement. They may be facing a swarm of personal issues preventing them from keeping their scheduled time. If this is the case, it’s essential to try to have a conversation with the other parent to see if there’s a way to work around the issue. It’s also possible that the other parent is simply trying to upset you or make your life difficult. In this case, it may be best to try to stay calm and avoid getting into a heated argument, but make it clear that you expect them to uphold their end of the agreement or will need further action.
- Go to Court
If talking to the other parent doesn’t work or isn’t possible, you may need to take the matter to court. This is often the last resort, but it may be necessary to get a judge’s order that the other parent takes their parenting time. This can be helpful in situations where the other parent is completely ignoring their scheduled time or is making it difficult for you to hand the children over.
- Hire an Attorney
If you’re facing a difficult custody battle or the other parent isn’t taking their parenting time, it is beneficial to hire an attorney. An experienced attorney will investigate the full history of the other parent’s parenting time and can help you build a case to show a pattern of neglect or abuse. An attorney can also represent you in court and work to get a favorable custody arrangement that protects your rights as an actively involved parent.
Q: What if the Other Parent Only Misses Their Parenting Time Once in a While?
A: If the other parent only misses their parenting time on occasion, it is likely not to be considered an official form of alienation. In general, alienation only applies if the other parent consistently fails to take their parenting time or is making it difficult for you to hand the children over. It is an expectation that with any formal custody arrangement, there will be times when one parent cannot make it due to unforeseen circumstances. If this only happens occasionally, it is not likely to be held against the other parent.
Q: What if the Other Parent Is Using Their Parenting Time to Badmouth Me?
A: This is a difficult situation to be in, but it’s important to remember that the other parent is likely doing this out of spite. In general, it’s best to avoid getting into an argument with the other parent about this issue. However, if the other parent is consistently badmouthing you during their parenting time, it’s possible to bring this up to an attorney and see if any legal recourse can be taken.
Q: The Other Parent Is Constantly Late to Pick up the Kids or Drops Them Off Early; Is This a Form of Alienation?
A: This is another challenging situation. If one parent habitually arrives late to pick up the kids or drops them off early, it can disrupt the child’s schedule, which can negatively impact the child. In addition, the custodial parent may feel as if the other parent is not valuing their time with the child. In some cases, this may be a form of alienation if the parent is doing it intentionally to make the other parent’s life difficult. If you are facing this issue, it is important to document each occurrence and discuss it with your attorney.
Q: Will the Court Punish the Parent That Is Alienating the Child?
A: If the court finds that a parent is deliberately trying to alienate the child from the other parent, the court may take action. The court’s goal is to protect the child’s best interests, including having a relationship with both parents. The court may order the parent to cease their behavior and participate in counseling, or they may limit the parent’s time with the child. In some cases, the court may find that the alienation is so severe that it warrants a change in custody.
Overall, it is important to remember that each situation is unique and will be evaluated by the court on a case-by-case basis. If you are concerned that the other parent in your child’s life is misusing their parenting time or are the parent that is being accused of alienation, it is important to speak to an experienced Bloomington, IL, family law attorney.