One of the hardest things about divorce when you have kids is the part-time parenting. You go from spending every morning, evening and weekend with your children to having sporadic end specifically timed access to them. Even when both spouses do their best to support one another as co-parents during the divorce, adjusting to these changes can be difficult.
When one parent tries to push the other out of the children’s lives or limit their time together, that can make the situation much worse. What can you do if your ex has started to deny you time with the kids or shorten your parenting time despite what the custody order says?
Start keeping written records immediately
To respond appropriately to a pattern of denied parenting time, you first have to prove that there has been a pattern. Every time you have to bring the kids home early or show up only to get sent away empty-handed, you should write down the dates, the time you arrived, the circumstances and anything noteworthy that your ex said or did. Keep showing up for whatever time you can get, no matter how frustrated you feel.
Politely but firmly make a written request for makeup parenting time
Once you have documentation of several shortened or denied custody sessions, you can approach the topic with your ex. Written communication via a parenting app or email is usually the best approach, as conversations might become heated. Be polite and professional when explaining that you would like to schedule additional time to make up for the time that you have lost. If they refuse or if they don’t respond, you may need to take further steps.
In the worst cases, a custody modification may be necessary
Many people manipulate custody as a way to punish their ex. Some people will stop doing so once their ex demands their parenting time.
However, if your ex continues to interfere in your relationship with the children, you may have to ask for a custody modification that gives you more parenting time and reduces the time that your ex has. Keeping calm and maintaining a focus on being there for the kids is very important during a custody dispute. You want to show the courts and the kids that they are your focus in this situation.