You have a child custody order that gives the other parent visitation. However, the other parent is not exercising either some or all of the visitation as detailed in the order. What can you do to detail with the frustration and disappointment?
The other parent’s lack of consistency in visitation can be disruptive to you as the primary caregiver, but it can be even more disruptive for your children. For example, if you are planning on the other parent coming to pick up the children, you get them packed and then he or she does not show up. The disappointment for your children can be hard to bear and deal with as a parent.
The courts view visitation as a privilege and not a right. This means that while you can be in trouble for not following a court order and having the children ready and available for visitation, the other parent cannot be in trouble for not taking the visitation. A court order does not require that the other parent take the visitation he or she is given in the order. In essence, the visitation is there as an option if the parent wants to take it.
While you cannot file a motion to try and hold the other parent in contempt for not taking his or her visitation, there are options. If the lack of visitation or inconsistency in visitation is having an effect on the children, you can ask the court to modify the order. Modifications you could request can be a decrease in visitation or a required advance notice if the visiting parent is not taking the visitation. Such a requirement would make it easier to ask that the visiting parent be held in contempt for not following the order as he or she has an additional requirement of notice if that parent is not picking up the children.
If you have questions about your case and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at 919-576-7550.