Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams, and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today we will be discussing inconsistent parents.
What is an inconsistent parent?
An inconsistent parent is apparent that essentially, they show up when they want to. They sometimes don’t show up, they’re not necessarily following the actual access schedule, they’re changing the schedule on a whim without any notice, they may be showing up late, they may not be showing up at all, they may be dropping off hours later or even days later than it was already agreed upon.
Addressing Parental Inconsistencies
So, if you have an agreement with your co-parent regarding access to the children and you don’t have a court order, there are different things you can do to try to work with your co-parent right. You have the option of trying to mediate those issues. You have the option of trying to get your co-parent to agree on a different schedule or some type of other alternative but quite frankly your options will be essentially limited depending on the age range of your children.
Addressing Inconsistencies Through the Court
If you have a court order regarding parenting time you have a lot more options than if you just have an agreement. You also can mediate you can also, however, file a petition for contempt, petition for enforcement, or even a petition to modify custody and access in your case. This will give you the legal foundation you need to make sure your children are able to see their co-parent based on their actual availability. You can set in, you can use the fact that you started litigation to get parameters that your spouse or your co-parent might not necessarily normally agree to, but they will be required to follow the court order. And you can also get safeguards in place if for some reason your co-parent again becomes inconsistent. For example, if you have the language in your court order that says, if your co-parent misses more than three visits in a row, then access will be limited until you both agree on a new schedule, that could be a part of your court order. If you have an agreement where, if your co-parent is more than 30 minutes late during a certain block of parenting time you can seek a different modification or change the overall access schedule. You have a lot of options available to you when you’re seeking to deal with an inconsistent parent through the court than if it’s by agreement because if you’re just agreeing whether it’s in writing and it’s informal they could just decide to not do it and there’s not a lot that you can do about that situation, but if you have a court order showing what the options are you have a lot more grounds for your family to move safely and to understand what’s going on with their day-to-day life.
If you have any questions about dealing with inconsistent parents, or dealing with child custody orders, or child custody modification, contact the Law Office of LaSheena M. Williams at (301) 778 – 9950 or leave an online request for a consultation.