Let’s consider the factual scenario where every time you go to meet
your former spouse or significant other to exchange
the custody of the children, that person is late causing you to wait around with your children until
that person eventually arrives. This is certainly frustrating. It is rude
and poor co-parenting by the offending parent. This is not uncommon.
What Can You Do About Late Parents?
Perhaps the offending parent needs to be educated. Before proceeding to
court, it might benefit the parents to discuss this lateness problem with
a trained mental health professional such as a marriage and family therapist
jointly selected by the parties. Parents do not always realize that they
are hurting their children by treating the other parent with disrespect.
Lateness is a form of disrespect because one parent is saying to the other
that my time is more important than your time. Of course, the child is
also having to wait, which is more apparent to older children than younger
children who might not be aware of the lateness of the other parent. Nevertheless,
the children usually have a sense of the warfare that is going on between
As the offending parent becomes later and later, the parent waiting might
be getting angrier and angrier. Sometimes, comments might be made in the
presence of the children, which, of course, are not a good idea, but it
happens. The children are affected by the stress that is often unnecessarily
taking place between their parents. If the parents lose the respect of
the child, they absolutely lose in the end. The children are looking at
their parents’ behavior, and it will likely bite the offending parent
in the end.
Court Intervention for Chronic Lateness
If out of court attempts to resolve the problem do not work,
getting before a judge for court orders might be the only alternative. Accountability is important, whether it
is a protocol for the return of children's clothing or a timed receipt
to prove that a party was on time for a custodial exchange.
To that end, a judge might order that the meeting place for custodial exchanges
of a child take place at a neutral location if a parent is often late.
For example, the parents could meet at a local McDonald's restaurant
or Jack-in-the-Box. A timely parent may then obtain a timed receipt at
a store with some minor purchase such as a drink or a food item. Therefore,
she or he will have proof that he or she was on time, which would then
be proper admissible evidence before a court.
Sometimes, the judge might reduce the visitation hours of the offending
parent for repetitive tardiness. In a more severe case, this tardiness
problem could result in a change of custody or parenting plan, especially
if the tardiness affects the child adversely such as causing the child
to be late for school or extra-curricular activities. The experienced
attorneys at Richard Ross Associates could help you with this kind of
custody problem or other problems that might be occurring.
If you need legal advice and advocacy regarding child custody issues arising
from your divorce, contact Richard Ross Associates at (805) 410-5407 to
schedule a case evaluation today.