Sharing custody is a challenge for former partners, but most parents find a way to make it work. They carefully follow instructions in the custody order and keep the children the focus of everything they do.
Unfortunately, some parents don’t take a mature and child-centered approach to shared custody. They become contentious and angry toward their ex instead. Some parents will even try to prevent their ex from spending time with the children.
This kind of parental interference can sometimes blossom into full-fledged parental alienation, which involves your ex trying to turn the children against you. You can ask the California court to enforce your existing custody order, and following the three rules below will increase your chances of succeeding in that effort.
Show up even if they verbally cancel
If your ex sends you a written notice, like a text message or email, that they need to cancel your parenting time, that can serve as documentation later in court. However, if they call you to cancel, it becomes a situation where the judge will have to consider both of your versions of the event.
In a situation involving cancellations over the phone, showing up to the planned custody exchange is important. Otherwise, your ex could try to claim that you failed to fulfill your parental obligations by not showing up when, in reality, they denied you parenting time.
Ask for makeup parenting time in writing
Whenever your ex cuts your visitation short or cancels your weekend with the children, you should be able to make up that lost time with your kids. Send an email, text message or direct message through a parenting app asking to schedule your makeup parenting time. That way, you can show that you have attempted to spend time with your children but your ex has not accommodated your requests.
Keep thorough written records
You need to write down the information about every cancellation and shortened visit. The more detailed your personal written records are about denied parenting time, the easier it will be to show the court how your ex has interfered in the relationship with your shared children.
You may also want to include records of incidents like your children making derogatory statements about you because of something they heard from the other parent. Anything that shows an intentional deviation from the custody order or an attempt to negatively impact your relationship with the children could help build your case.
All of that documentation will then help convince the court to enforce the existing custody order or to modify it to give you more time with the children. Knowing the right steps to take when issues arise in a shared custody situation will help you remain an involved and dedicated parent.