Settling in to your post-divorce routine is always a challenge, but it’s especially challenging for your kids. They have to get used to spending shorter chunks of time with each of you. Every time there is a pick-up or drop-off it brings the divorce front and center in their minds. If your ex is habitually late, you’ll often see your child become anxious, upset, and eventually disappointed. Just how long are you expected to wait?
Unfortunately this may be one of the first times you are confronting another of the disappointing facts about your divorce, no matter what your divorce decree says, enforcement is a completely different matter.
If your ex is consistently late, your first step is to politely ask them to stick to the schedule. Make sure he/she is aware of the impact on the children. Now I know you people out there, I’ve been round this bend before, and you might struggle with the “politely” piece. Remember, focus on the kids and NOT what a jerk your ex is. Treat your ex as though he/she is your best friend going through a rough patch. You can do it.
If that doesn’t work, waiting 30 minutes is about the limit of what any court would consider reasonable and at that point, you could realistically turn him/her away. However, realize there is no enforceable law about this and you need to weigh out the impact to the kids vs the damage to your co-parenting relationship with your ex. No matter what, keep a journal and document every single time that your ex is late. If it’s frequent, it could be grounds to request a modification to your parenting plan.
When it comes to difficulties around visitation, be very watchful of how your children are being impacted. I’ve said it before but you and your ex are the ONLY parents your children have and it’s very important that they have access to BOTH of you. Kids feel like they are 50% Mom and 50% Dad and if you paint your ex as “bad” then your child will assume he/she is 50% bad also. You don’t want that. Take the high road.
Are you contemplating divorce? If so, please contact our team to learn more about a smarter divorce solution for you and your family.