It’s normal for scheduling conflicts to arise every now and then. But, if your ex is habitually unable to follow through with the timelines specified in your custody agreement, you may begin to wonder why you have a settlement in the first place.
Here are your options when your ex asks to make up for missed parent time.
Deviating from the plan
In most cases, there is no legal obligation for you to allow your ex an opportunity to make up for a scheduled parenting time that he or she missed. Instead, it’s simply considered a loss for your ex, unless flexibility for this situation is explicitly addressed in your settlement agreement or judgment. However, while it is very rare, your ex may be able to request that the courts order make-up time in some situations.
The courts make custody decisions with the assumption that it is your child’s best interests to see both parents as often as possible. Hence, if your ex needs to make a slight change to plans, such as picking up your child on Saturday morning instead of Friday night, you should consider allowing some flexibility.
Similarly, you should consider making an exception if the change is in your child’s best interest. For example, if your ex won tickets to a sporting event and wants to take your child, you should make an exception if the event is scheduled on one of your days. Being able to work with the other parent may also help yourself out in the future if you should ever have a scheduling conflict.
When changes need to be made
If your ex is proposing to make an indefinite change to your agreement or has continuously broken the agreement, it may be best to make changes to the formal custody agreement. The courts will not expect you to set your schedule based solely on the other parent’s and nor should your ex.
If the other parent got a new job, works a different shift or has made another large change in their lifestyle, your custody agreement should reflect this. There’s no reason that your ex’s parental rights should come before your own.