Even the best parenting plan is dependent on both parents being compliant and acting in good faith. However, this does not always occur.
The best response to a parent being late depends on how late they are. If they are less than an hour late, there is little use in bringing legal action against them and may even be looked on poorly in courts.
If you have a court order that lists the time that the child is supposed to be returned and the other parent is consistently and extremely late, however, you can file a motion to have them held responsible for being in contempt of a court order. You will need to document that there is an established pattern of the other parent disregarding the court order. If your court order does not include exact times, then you should have the order amended so that it does. In many cases, exes will only obey what is put in writing and signed by a judge.
As for picking them up early, there are several ways to deal with this. You can agree to meet in a neutral location and bring the child exactly on time. If the child is picked up from your home, then you can plan an errand that takes you and the child out of the house until the agreed-upon time or simply refuse to answer the door when they knock. If the ex shows up early repeatedly and has to wait until the established time, they will likely start coming when scheduled.
Regardless of how your ex is acting, there are a few things that you should remember. First, never break a court order in retaliation. Do not withhold child support or visitation to ‘teach them a lesson’. You cannot legally take action against them for breaking a court order when you are doing the same. It’s important that judges and mediation staff view you as the reasonable and compliant parent.
Second, do not discuss the scheduling and compliance issues with your child. Not only does this look bad to the courts, but it also makes the child feel conflicted and unhappy. Deal with your ex’s behavior proactively and legally, in ways that do not affect your child’s well being.
Contact one of our dedicated attorneys by calling 480.345.2652 or online today.