Is Your Tampa Co-Parent Preventing Visitation? You Have Options.
You finally got divorced, moved out of the family home and started a new job. The custody order and parenting plan indicate that you are to have visitation with your shared child every weekend from Saturday morning until Monday morning. Despite the court order, each weekend your co-parent makes an excuse to either delay custody exchange or not meet you at all. One week everyone was sick, the next it wasn’t “convenient”, and now your co-parent is flat out ignoring you. Don’t you have a right to see your child? Can your ex decide to just not show up to custody exchanges?
Try a Collaborative Approach First
If you cannot seem to communicate with your ex no matter how hard you try, you may want to consider pursuing mediation. Our attorneys at Bubley & Bubley have experience in family law mediation and would accompany you to a mediation session. Mediators are court-approved neutrals who help parties reach a resolution without the threat or expense of litigation. Anything said in mediation is confidential and non-binding, but it is worth a shot.
Often parents come from charged emotional situations and have difficulty expressing themselves in a concise and rational manner. Mediation can help you both get to the heart of the issue and determine if one party is deliberately stonewalling, or if the issue is simply logistical. It is possible that a simple modification of the custody schedule would resolve outstanding issues. However, if your ex is refusing to adhere to the custody schedule out of spite or control, mediation might not be the best option.
Can You Seek Assistance in Court?
Once a judge has finalized your divorce or custody order and a parenting plan has been approved, both parents should be in receipt of a working custody and visitation schedule. There are now court-sponsored calendar applications available that can minimize communication between exes while ensuring adherence to the schedule. You should track your schedule immediately. Make notes of days or times when your ex is a no-show or shows up late for drop-off and pick-up exchanges of your children. Keep a log of specific instances when your ex refuses to release the children to you, and their rationale for doing so. The visitation log you keep can help you should you pursue a post-custody modification or file a motion to compel.
The fact is that your ex cannot decide unilaterally to keep you from seeing your children, no matter how much angst might still be between you. You are both required to adhere to the court order. Ultimately, if your co-parent continues to defy that court order, our attorneys can help you file a motion to compel visitation. This would trigger a court hearing to be scheduled on the matter where both parties can present their qualms to the judge. If the court grants your motion to compel, your ex would be under court order to comply with this new motion along with the provisions of the custody order. Family court judges do not look favorably at parents attempting to deny a co-parent’s right to see their children without good cause.
Call the Tampa Child Custody Dispute Lawyers at Bubley & Bubley
If you or a family member are stuck dealing with a custody or visitation dispute, and no progress has been made, contact our Tampa post-divorce modification attorneys at Bubley & Bubley. We understand how painful and difficult these situations can be. Often getting a perspective from an impartial third party can help you decide what is the best course of action moving forward. Remember that your ex has no right to keep you from your child. Call our attorneys today to help resolve this pressing issue.