What Do I Do When My Ex Bails on a Promise to the Kids?

  • 13 Nov 2019

Co-parenting is never easy, but it can be even more frustrating if your ex frequently makes promises to your kids that aren’t followed through.

Whether it’s missing scheduled parenting time or a promise to attend a sports game, telling your children they’ll be somewhere and then not showing up can leave you picking up the pieces. 

If you’re dealing with an ex that frequently bails on your kids, here are some things to remember:

You Can’t Force Someone to Parent

Even if you’ve got a court order that specifically lays out parenting time, you cannot force your ex to show up at the prescribed time and keep the kids for the prescribed period. You just can’t.

If your ex cancels last-minute, always has a schedule change, or just doesn’t show up at all, document everything. A pattern of no-shows, cancellations, or an irregular work schedule can cause the court to modify your parenting plan to help keep things more stable and consistent for the kids.

Keep Them Busy

Sitting around waiting for the other parent to show up, even after they’ve not shown up multiple times, can be an emotional experience for children.

Instead of letting them sit and stare out the window waiting for a car to pull into the driveway, keep your kids occupied until pickup time – if it happens.

Make sure their bags and coats are ready to go, but get them engaged in a game, craft, or movie that can easily be stopped if the other parent shows up. If they don’t, your kids may be preoccupied and not really notice that the parent was a no-show until later.

Have a Backup Plan

If your ex is inconsistent with showing up for scheduled visits, don’t make solid plans for as soon as your kids are picked up in the future.

This prevents you from having to cancel on a friend or relative last-minute, or scramble for child care to cover your ex’s time so you can keep your plans.

Allow Your Children to Feel

No matter how many times it’s happened, your children are bound to be disappointed, sad, or even angry when their other parent doesn’t keep a promise.

Let your children feel their feelings, but don’t fall into the trap of bad-mouthing your ex.

Reassure your kids that they are loved and that the other parent’s actions aren’t their fault. 

Support Contact within Reason

If your ex is a constant no-show on visitation, but tries to call to talk to the kids, do your best to facilitate that contact.

In situations where a phone call is inconvenient, work with your ex to find another time to have a conversation. This lets your children know that you support their contact with the other parent in whatever form it takes.

However, if your ex insists on haphazardly picking up the kids whenever it works best for their schedule, draw a hard line. Stick to whatever is in your court order and remind your ex when their next scheduled parenting time is. Constantly going back and forth between parents at the last minute isn’t good for kids.

Child Custody Attorney in Central Maryland

Parenting with your ex isn’t going to be a cake walk all the time. To help you create the best possible post-separation life for you and your children, you need an attorney experienced in matters of child custody. The team at the Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado has what it takes to get you moving forward with your life. Schedule a consultation today!

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