Divorce is seldom easy, and if you have children, you may have an especially difficult time. The breakup of a marriage can mean dividing your time with the children and creating complex schedules for birthdays, holidays and special events. This can be a devastating blow, and some parents do not adjust well to the change.
If you and your ex-spouse have gone through a contentious custody battle, you may be dealing with the aftermath. As much as you may want to present a united front to your children, you may be struggling to remain civil with their other parent, especially if he or she refuses to allow you the parenting schedule or visitation rights the court has ordered.
What can you do?
Perhaps it began subtly. Your ex showed up late to return the children to you or began to call on your scheduled parenting days to say that some conflict prevented the children from being with you. On the other hand, your ex may have simply refused from the start to comply with the court order allowing you a share of parenting time. What are your options? Parenting coaches recommend the following:
- Keep a detailed log of every incident in which your ex refuses to allow you access to the children or scheduled parenting time.
- Try negotiating with your ex in case there is some reasonable, correctable issue that can resolve the conflict, such as safety concerns in your home.
- Contact the Illinois police through their non-emergency line to file a report.
- See if the district attorney can assist you with convincing your ex to comply with the court order.
- Return to court to seek a modification of the custody order, perhaps even requesting full custody in light of your ex’s refusal to grant your rightful parenting time.
- Ask the court to impose penalties on your ex for refusing to obey the court order.
If you have tried negotiating and resolving the issue on your own, you do not want to let too much time pass before you take more serious steps. Time away from your children could become confusing for them, and studies show that a child at any age benefits from as much time as possible with both parents.
Seeking legal assistance with this difficult problem may be of great benefit. You will have a legal advocate who can advise you on the law as it relates to your case and guide you through any of the legal processes necessary to reconnect with your children.