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Is joint custody a possibility if he doesn’t even use his visitation?

January 2, 2017 Blog

It can be very frustrating to deal with any kind of custody arrangement. You might used to seeing your child all the time, but you might not be able to do this when your custody arrangement begins. It can be even more frustrating when you have a custody arrangement and they other party doesn’t follow it as he is supposed to. Indeed, some of the most frustrating times in life can come when an individual decides that he and not the court can make the decisions when it comes to your children. And, unfortunately, you have little recourse with the court has made a decision.

While dealing with someone who ignores the rules is bad, it’s even worse when he doesn’t show up to visitation at all. This can become very difficult when your children are old enough to realize their father isn’t visiting. It’s even worse, though, when this is a person who has joint custody. This is the kind of person who may not ever visit his children, but who insists on having input on any major decisions. In fact, it may feel like his only interest in the children is really an interest in making your life harder. As far as the law is concerned, though, he is still acting well within his rights.

The question becomes, then, whether it’s really join custody if the other party doesn’t have anything to do with the children. The answer to this one, unfortunately, is very simple – it’s very much joint custody if the court has decided if it is joint custody. It doesn’t matter how well as your former spouse follows the rules or how well your former spouse treats your children. This is very much a legal issue, and sadly one that you can’t change just because the other person is not able or willing to follow the letter of the law.

If your spouse isn’t following the visitation rules, however, you do have options. Your best move is to let the court know that things aren’t going how they are supposed to go. If you have an attorney, you can make the case that the other party doesn’t deserve to have joint custody. If you can show a pattern of him missing visits and let the court know that it is causing harm to your children, you should be able to make the change with relatively little hassle. The biggest issue, of course, is whether your former spouse will contest the change.

There are many cases in which missed visits will not result in a change of custody. If your spouse contests the issue, for example, he or she may be able to bring up issues that make joint custody the best choice. Most courts are loathe to give anything other than joint custody if it doesn’t involve the welfare of the child, and your ex missing visits may not be something that rises to the level of causing issues for your child. As such, you can’t necessarily count on the order being changed.

At the end of the day, a parent missing visits isn’t always enough to change the kind of custody arrangement that occurs. If you aren’t dealing with something that’s abusive or neglectful, some courts will err on the side of leaving the order how it is. If this behavior is just one of many things that causes issues, though, you may be able to get the custody order modified. It’s important that you always bring up issues that impact your child, though, and there’s nothing wrong with making sure the court knows that its orders aren’t being followed. At the very least, this should give your former spouse a wake-up call. If things work well, you might be able to change the order to something that better benefits your child. The worst thing that can happen is that the court doesn’t agree with your assessment.



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