27 answers

My Ex Won't Follow the Court Ordered Visitation Schedule

Ok here is my story,
My divorce was final in April of 2008, my ex fought me for custody of our 3 children. I got joint physical care of the children.
He took the children for his visitation every other weekend just as the court order stated. Then it all changed in Jan. of 2009, his lawyer contacted mine and said he was going to stop seeing the children for a while. (We had a very messy divorce, and his mission since we split up has been to make my life miserable and has never cared whether it put the kids in the middle or not. Which is the main reason the judge gave me the physical care. He was also very controlling and still tries to control me now.) So he didn't see them at all for 6 months. Then in June of 2009 he sent me a certified letter telling me the dates for the next 6 months that he was GOING to get HIS children... which was one Sunday a month for 3 hours. (always occurring on his regular scheduled weekend or holiday)
I just went along with this because I didn't want to argue with him anymore, I have moved on. And I thought at least he was making an effort to see them. But then I find out that he is telling his parents, family and anyone else that will listen that I only allow him to see the kids 3 hours a month! His grandma told me this! I am only in contact with her because of the kids, and she pretty much told me I was a horrible person for not letting him see his kids! ( I showed her the letters and set her straight by the way)
We live in a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. So now he is picking his Sundays (which he has now upped to 6 hrs a month) on the days that is most inconvenient for me! On purpose!
I'm just very tired of playing these little games with him, and it is hell on my kids! Is there anything I can do about this?
The decree says that he gets the kids every other weekend starting Friday @ 5:30pm till Sunday @6:00pm. and every Tuesday night 5:30-7:30. The letters he sends me aren't from a lawyer or anything, just a piece of paper in his handwriting sent certified mail.
I want him to either take them for his full visitation or not at all, its just too hard on the kids! And me! I plan most things for Sundays cuz that is my day off and I do have 2 other children and I don't think he should be able to just pick and choose his visitation when its convenient for him.
What I want to do is tell him that he can either get them for his scheduled visitation starting Friday at 5:30 or not at all. I will give him one hour and if he is not there to get them, then I will assume he's not coming.
What I want to know is, can I do this?
Sorry if this is so long, just very frustrated!

What can I do next?

More Answers

First off, I am sorry to hear about what a mess its been. I am in the middle of a divorce and mediation right now! As far as him telling you what days and hours he is going to see them- He cannot do that. If it is going against the court order, it is YOUR choice, not his. If he is paying child support- if he isnt seeing the kids the hours set, he will owe you more child support than is set. It is going against the order and you should take him back to court to have it changed if he isnt going to go by it.

4 moms found this helpful

I don't think he can dictate what hours he's seeing the kids. I also suggest you go back to court and ask that the order be changed to his pattern of so many hours once/week. Or is it every other week? He's set a precedent. You choose which day, saying this day is best for the kids. Consult an attorney about this, first.

I would not insist that he take them for the full time because if he's not interested in having them the full time he will not be treating them well. I suggest that forcing him to take them the whole weekend or not at all could back fire to the detriment of the kids. But again talk with an attorney first.

I am wondering what his game plan is. Is he wanting you to go back to court at which time he'll say something like he works weekends and wants to have them during the week or even that you're unco-operative and he wants full custody, or something else? He's already shown that he knows how to make you look like the bad guy. I suggest there is more to what he's doing than to just make it inconvenient for you.

I might start by having a lawyer send him a letter reminding him of the court order and offering him a regular several hour visit to fit the pattern he's established. You state what day you want that to happen on. This will give you and the children continuity and it will establish that you are willing to compromise. It will also put you back in a position of power equal to his.

Trying to force him to take the children doesn't seem like a beneficial plan to me. You want to document that you are flexible and willing to work out a plan convenient for both of you.

4 moms found this helpful

Get to your lawyer and have him make all correspondences with the ex. Do not bad mouth him. Keep all paperwork to show to anyone who really cares, like his family, that this is what he's done, this is what you've done.
Good luck.
I have a good friend, actually my hubby's best friend, who had a very messy divorce. He is in the same boat you are. He lawyered up and it's getting better.

3 moms found this helpful

I don't have a lot of experience in these matters, but I have a question. When court ordered joint custody was set up, was there no explanation of the consequences of breaking the court order? An unexplained 6 month total absence sounds like it should be a violation of something. A court order with no penalty for non compliance sounds a lot like a bull dog with it's teeth all pulled out. I think you'd have a case for taking your documentation (emails, written notes, etc) from your ex to a lawyer and making a case for your obtaining total custody, and your ex can stop by for supervised visits when he cares enough to actually see his kids every once in awhile.

3 moms found this helpful

do you have a friend of the court system in iowa that you contact with regards to the orders. In michigan we do, and so we don't need to get lawyers invovled. we tell them what's happening, and they help us with it. If not, contact a lawyer.

I would say also read what the order says and understand it. I know my husband's order states, that he is to pick up his son at 5pm, and has up to 2 hours to get him. if we were late by more than 2 hours to get his son, the mom can decide we don't get him. it is very important to understand the orders.

If he is trying to take the kids on your weekend, I would say make something for you to do that day with your kids, so you can tell him, and be honest that you have plans already. if the order states that you can chose if he sees the kids if he is late picking them up, then again plan something and take the kids out of the house. I wouldn't tell them that the dad was coming either. But I would definatly speak with a lawyer or someone about this.

3 moms found this helpful

technically you have to follow the court too right? so go by the book. tell him, the papers that i have say you are to have them from the "specified times that the papers said" and say i am a law abiding citizen and i will be following the judges orders. he can never go to the courts and say" she's following your orders to the "T"! they will laugh him right out of that court room!those certified letters mean nothing but that he had something to say and he wanted you to sign for it when you recieved it in the mail. and as markasa said if he has a problem with the schdule he needs to fill out the paperwork that says he needs to modify his visitation times. stop playing with him. sometimes you have to do a little tit-for-tat for some people to get the picture. where does it say in your order that he can change the judges orders whenever he feels like? so all you have to do is take back the control of the situation. good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

exhubbys-blek-went thru the same...let him play his game..keep everything he gives you in writing..then document everything else.yea its hell on you an the kids-but this will save your hiney when he brings you back to court-which he will..can almost gurantee it-or he will call CPS...protect yourself anyway you can-plus always smile when he comes around-an mostly dont discuss it with the kids-which you know he is doing-keep living your life-keep it positive for both you an kids-he will get bored real quick when he cant ruin your day anymore-he will either get back on track or move on an leave you all alone-it takes 2 to fight-pull yourself out of it..good luck...never assume anything...i did that an i got in alot of trouble.

2 moms found this helpful

I have no experience in divorce or dealing with visitation other than what I went through as a kid. I have to admit that as much as my Dad ticked me off, he did pretty well.

I hope that you're documenting when he does visit, the visitations he's skipping, the letters he's sending to you. I'm not sure, but like the other ladies said.. I believe that if he's not there within a certain time frame, you are within your rights to turn him away. I'm not saying to do so every time, but when its really inconvenient maye you should. Of course, check that the option is really there so you're not doing something that violates the agreement. There are likely consequences for him as well. Maybe because of that you can go back to court with the arguement that he isn't following the decree and it is detrimental to your children.

In the end, they do need that relationship with their Dad. If you can try to be accomodating so that they can have that they will ultimately grow up and see that. They will at some point not want to go for visitation anymore and things like that. Ultimately, he will end up with the short end of the stick for playing around with their emotions and time. I know its not much consolation, but its true.

2 moms found this helpful

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