When parents end their relationship, they will both still have responsibilities to their shared children. You and your ex may have had to fight in court to establish a parenting plan, as you might have had different preferences regarding time-sharing and legal responsibilities for your children.
Once the Florida family courts approve a custody order, you and your ex should do your best to follow the terms in that order. However, time-sharing plans often require on-the-fly adjustments. It is common to need to make changes to the schedule because of unexpected work responsibilities or a child’s sudden illness.
When your ex is not flexible with changes and instead seeks to deny you time with the children, how can you protect yourself?
Keep written records
If you use a parenting app, there may already be a record of multiple cancellations or shortened parenting sessions. If you have simply fielded phone calls where they canceled shortly before you would have picked the children up and don’t have any written documentation of the changes, you need to start making a record.
Typically, for you to claim denied parenting time, you need to have shown up to the visit in person at the scheduled location and time. The more denied visits you have in your recent history, the easier it may be to convince the court that your ex is in violation of your time-sharing agreements.
Ask for makeup time
Sometimes, one parent confronting the other about custodial interference is all that it takes to fix the problem. If you show your ex how frequently they have denied you access to the children, they may realize that they have subconsciously interfered with your parental rights. They may be grateful to work with you and arrange for makeup parenting time.
That isn’t always the case. If your ex won’t cooperate with you, then you can go to court.
The Florida family courts frown on denied parenting time
Unless there is a compelling reason for it, the courts typically do not condone one parent denying the other time with the children, especially without the opportunity to make up that lost time. Your records of hostile conversations and repeatedly denied parenting time can give you grounds to ask for enforcement actions through the family courts.
A judge could order your ex to give you parenting time to make up for what you missed. In extreme cases, they may even modify the parenting plan to give you more access to and control over the children.
Standing up for your parenting rights in a contentious shared custody scenario can be difficult, but it is often worthwhile for frustrated parents not getting their allocated time-sharing.