My ex received a large inheritance, was able to quit her job and can now afford extravagant vacations and daily outings with my teenage children when they are out of school.
They have expressed an interest in reducing their summer visitation with me since they “get bored” while I am at work and can’t do all the things my ex can afford, and she has stated she supports their desire even though it is damaging to my relationship with our children.
I have always been supportive of them and have made concessions at times so they can enjoy these different experiences, but can my ex reduce my visitation due to my children’s whims and misguided feelings?
My first recommendation to you is to enforce your current parenting time. You referenced that you give up your time at intervals so that the children can continue to participate in activities of their choosing.
While this is commendable, realize that if your ex-wife tries to go to court to modify the parenting time, each time that you did not exercise your allocated parenting time will be used to support her argument as to why the current visitation schedule should change.
Many requested changes to parenting time are investigated under a “best interest of the child” standard; however, if the requested modification amounts to essentially a restriction on your parenting time, it is possible that the required standard for your ex-wife to succeed will be “endangerment.”
Realize that although your children are not of an age where the court will let them decide what the schedule is going to be, they are of a sufficient age that their opinion can be taken into consideration.
There are many different types of experts that can help with this analysis for the courts, and it is not uncommon for children to prefer to spend more time with the party that provides more privileges.
This will not be a good enough reason to change the parenting plan. However, your ex-wife’s encouragement that the children do not have to exercise parenting time if they do not want to does complicate your issue. Your current orders are only as strong as your attempt to enforce them.
So if your ex-wife is not allowing you parenting time, the court will not know that is an issue unless you make them aware of it. Again, if you consistently do not enforce your allocated parenting time (for whatever reason) you are effectively changing your own parenting time.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.