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Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

This is a discussion on Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights? within the Child Custody & Support forum, part of the FAMILY LAW, DIVORCE, CUSTODY category; My ex and I have a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son together. Our divorce states ...

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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:29 AM   #1
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Confused Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

My ex and I have a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son together. Our divorce states that he is to pay child support and have the children every other weekend and on certain holidays. He pays child support, but he refuses to take the children every other weekend. Instead, he goes four to five months without seeing them and then drops by on one of his weekends and takes them. This is starting to cause emotional problems with both of them.

Our daughter has always been extremely close to him. She wants to see him and gets really excited about going to his house and spending time with him. However, he is full of empty promises to come and get her and she is broken hearted every time he doesn't show up. It also really affects her when he shows up out of nowhere, takes her with him on Friday, and then walks right back out of her life on Sunday. She always wants to know why he never came back to get her and why she can't go and see him. I do my best to explain things to her without putting him down and making her feel worse, but a few months later he'll pop right back into her life and confuse her again.

As for our son, his father is almost like a stranger to him. He only saw him twice for the first 6 months of his life. When my ex drops by for his visit with them every 4-5 months, our son does not want to go with him. He cries when they leave and cries for the entire weekend. I don't want to make him go, but he is paying child support and I have no choice.

This can't be healthy for our children. In my opinion, being a father is an all or nothing job. I think he should take his visits as he is supposed to or just sign over all rights to me. I realize I would lose child support if he signed over all rights, but I have to do what is best for them. I don't want him to walk out of their life forever, but I have to wonder if that could be any worse than what they are going through now. Is there anything I can do to force him to take his visitation with them or sign over rights if he doesn't? I live in Alabama if that helps on any state laws.

I am sorry for such a long post, but I really need some advice on this. It is breaking my heart to see my babies so upset when there is nothing I can do to make it better! Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Last edited by SingleMommy; May 30th, 2008 at 02:31 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 05:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

No, you cannot force him to take his visitation time. Even if you could, that would only breed resentment.
How far away does he live?
Also, your children are very young. It is possible that he feels awkward relating to them at this age, but may increase his involvement as they grow older and start to participate in activities that he is familiar with, such as junior sports teams, going to the movies, miniature golf, arcades, etc.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 11:38 AM   #3
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Smile Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

i don't think i would take that answer. i'm dealin w/ a psycho ex right now but there IS something you can do. you can take him to court for contempt. there will a jail time penalty for this. how long depends on alabama & ur judge. the fact that he's popping in and out is ridiculous. he can't do that just like you can't NOT let him see them; right now. but you also have to do this soon bc ur children are not getting better. the more time passes the more damage is done. consult some lawyers in your area and dont' take an answer you dont' like this is your CHILDREN. not a choice. a MUST. screw him. go after him for everything. have them go in for a psychologist evaluation before court to take w/ you so the judge can hear what exact damage he's doing to them. you'll win. good luck. also- it doesn't matter what BULL**** reason he's giving you: lives too far, feels awkward, etc...its no excuse. be a good dad or leave them alone.

Last edited by loved08; Jun 3rd, 2008 at 11:41 AM.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 05:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

Hmmm....keep trying different lawyers until you find one that will tell you what you want to hear rather than the truth.
Excellent advice.
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Old Jun 4th, 2008, 08:11 PM   #5
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Big Grin Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

i didn't say "keep trying diff..." i said "this is her children"...& it is. as a parent there are NO words when you see your children hurting everyday. the damage is daily and when other people tell you that there is NOTHING you can do to help your children or prevent them from future pain. that's NOT GOOD ENOUGH. EVER. children are our FUTURE and if we LET things like a crappy parent or abuse, or any other damage happen to them w/o giving it our all to protect them whats to say will happen to us in OUR old age when they have control over our lives??? these are children they are not adults CHOOSING to have this pos father pop in and out confusing them, upsetting them; and hurting the in ridiculous amounts of ways...there is no stopping a mother who sees her child hurt. go for it. your children deserve the best; and nothing less. go to the supreme court. & as for tbyte...if you're only thinking as a lawyer; or whatever thats fine. thats ur job. try being a parent for a day.
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Old Jun 4th, 2008, 09:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

I'm not a lawyer. I'm a parent.
And this is reality, not a made-for-TV drama on Lifetime or the Oxygen network.
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Old Jun 6th, 2008, 02:19 AM   #7
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Thumbs Up Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

Thanks for the advice everyone! I have talked to one lawyer since I last posted and she said that I should have the visitation modified so it would fit his schedule better. The thing is I have told him from day one that he can get them ANYTIME he wants and that we don't have to go strictly by the guidelines if he can't get them on those days. The LAST thing I want is for him to walk out of their lives. It just seems more and more like he doesn't want to see them at all. I get what you're saying about their age tbyte, but I really don't think that is what it is with him. He is very good at interacting with them when he does show up, he just never does! Hopefully you are right though. I hope that something changes soon so they don't have to be upset anymore. The good news is that (for now) my daughter seems to be doing ok with it again. I just hope he doesn't mess that up for her the next time he decides he wants to see them. :-(

Last edited by SingleMommy; Jun 6th, 2008 at 02:20 AM.
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Old Jun 6th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

In family courts, no act of kindness goes unpunished.
You should not bend over backwards to accommodate his schedule, as he will likely end up taking advantage of your generosity.
Go ahead and modify the schedule if it is convenient for both of you, but do not leave him to consider his visitation open-ended. Insist that he abide by any visitation that you set up, in that if he does not show up for a visitation, without notifying you in advance, he cannot make it up with additional time later.
There is an odd bit of psychology here. We tend to value those resources which are limited, and devalue those resources which are unlimited. If he knows that certain days and hours are the only time he has to spend with his children, he may actually be more likely to show up than if he feels he can drop by any time.
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Old Jun 6th, 2008, 09:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

i think this guy again is just one of many, many slack*** parents who have chosen to go back to the dating/partying life and have CHOSEN to walk out of their kids lives. maybe "mommy" you're lucky and somewhere inside he knows its wrong and thats why he keeps popping in and out. although i'm sure you're just like me and WANT to think that he'll be a good dad and come around. but there's a catch in this too...make sure you document everything. all the phone calls, broken promises, & broken dates for pick up/drop off. it sucks. but this is whats going to help you in court when you need to go back. i only hope the best for you and am glad the children are ok but i hope that you act upon your instincts and not your hopes.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 10:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is there anything I can do about my ex neglecting his visitation rights?

What's best for the kids is to keep their dad in their life as much as possible. Kids will follow your attitude on this, so if you stay positive then you're doing your kids a big favor. When your kids are older, they will figure things out for themselves and if dad is still a flake when they are teenagers, they'll probably refuse to see him when they are old enough to make that choice. Until then, change your attitude and teach them some coping skills. You can set the expectations so there's less disappointment if he doesn't show up. You can have a Plan B -- something else to do that's just as fun -- if he doesn't show up. It will also help to keep your personal feelings on the matter to yourself when your children are present or within ear shot. If they hear you speaking poorly of their father, it will influence how they feel and they will remember it when they are older. So take the high road. As far as dealing with your ex, I'd take extra measures to call him during the week to remind him when it's time for visitation. It's not ideal and it's sad that you need to do it, but it sounds like he needs the extra push to put his kids at the top of his agenda. But if you take a positive attitude with him and remind him how much the children need their father and how much you appreciate him when he is involved with the children -- you might be able to work through this without going to court or escalating the situation. Your end goal is to get him to understand he is needed and his children are number one. You don't need a judge for that. You need tons of patience and a loving, supportive attitude. People do change. Someday he will probably thank you for not allowing him to walk out on those kids. And someday your kids will thank you for doing all you could to keep dad involved. Good luck. You have your work cut out for you.
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