Creating a parenting plan and splitting up parental responsibilities are often the biggest challenges for divorcing parents in North Dakota. Some parents ask for as much parental responsibility as possible because their children are the center of their universe. Others just see victory in custody proceedings as a way to win in the divorce.
If your ex falls into that second category, the chances are good that they will not be enthusiastic about fulfilling their parental obligations after your divorce. While they may have the kids nearly half of the time on paper, in reality, they cancel as often as they show up.
Your ex not showing up for parenting time is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is the additional pressure on you and the emotional pain it causes the kids. Needing to take over their parenting time could leave you with more child care expenses or missed shifts at work. What can you do when your ex isn’t parenting the way that they should according to your North Dakota custody order?
Keep a record of when they don’t show up
When you start to realize that your ex has become quite flaky about fulfilling their parental obligations, you will need to start tracking their behavior. You need concrete information to prove how it affects you and the children.
File modification paperwork with the courts
Your custody order should reflect your family’s actual division of parenting time. If your ex consistently only shows up for a fraction of their scheduled time, then your custody order should reflect their behavior.
You might try talking about it with your ex first. In some cases, they might agree that reducing their parenting time is the best approach. In that scenario, you can file an uncontested modification request that will result in a quick change to your custody order. If your ex does not agree, then you will need to proceed with a contested modification.
What happens when you ask the courts to change custody?
As with any contested custody matter, the judge hearing the case will have to focus on what would be best for the children. Showing that your ex has been unreliable and discussing the emotional impact the frequent cancellations have on your children could convince the judge that reducing your ex’s parenting time is the right move. A significant reduction in their parenting time may also affect your child support orders.
Overall, holding your ex accountable for their failure to show up for your children can help protect you and them in a frustrating shared custody scenario.