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When can I refuse my ex's scheduled parenting time?

You would not be the first parent to resent your ex's time with the children. In fact, each time your ex picks them up or you have to take them to his or her house, you may feel the emotions of worry, sorrow, anger and disappointment that a North Dakota family court awarded shared custody or visitation rights to your ex.

Perhaps you have even made excuses for not honoring your ex's visitation time. You may have called your ex at the last minute to say the children were sick or that you forgot about some schedule conflict. However, even if these were true, you were probably in violation of the court order, which can have serious legal ramifications, including jeopardizing your own custody of the children.

Be careful not to violate your custody order

Of course, there are legitimate reasons for wanting to keep the children away from your ex. For example, if your former partner is violent or abusive to the children, to you or to someone who lives in the house, you may feel the circumstances are too dangerous for your children. If your ex has a drinking problem or drug addiction, you are within your rights to protect your children from that situation. However, for your own protection, you would be wise to seek legal counsel before stopping visitation altogether.

On the other hand, denying your ex time with the children for any of the following reasons is unlawful and could lead to legal repercussions:

  • You harbor resentment for your ex.
  • You are jealous or hurt because your ex is in a new relationship.
  • Your ex is not consistent with child support payments.
  • Your ex's living arrangements do not include a separate bedroom for the children.
  • Your child complains about visiting the other parent.
  • Your child is sick, even in the hospital.
  • You have made other plans for your child, or the child's schedule conflicts with your ex's parenting time.

Refusing your ex lawful, court-ordered time with the children could go badly for you. If the court decides you are in contempt, you may face fines and jail. You may also risk losing custody of your children. If you feel you have a valid reason for denying your ex visitation, it is best to reach out for sound legal advice and guidance before taking matters into your own hands.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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