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What to do if your ex doesn't show up for visitation

There is no one way to help your children adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle. You know your kids better than anyone and, like most good parents in Wisconsin, you always have your children's best interests in mind. However, certain issues may arise following your divorce that require your special attention to help your kids cope. 

If your ex is proving unreliable when it comes to your agreed upon visitation schedule, it can cause a lot of disappoint and stress in your children's lives as well as your own, since you are the custodial parent who is left to deal with the mess the other parent is creating. There are several things you can to do to help your children in such circumstances, from an emotional standpoint and from a legal perspective as well.

Don't make excuses

Your initial reaction might be to try to make excuses for why your co-parent did not show up to get your kids as planned. After all, most parents try to protect their children's feelings when someone does something mean to them. If your ex doesn't show up, simply explain the situation to them without trying to make it seem as though it doesn't matter because to them, it does.

Always have a plan B

Especially if you know your ex is likely to disappoint your kids again, it can be quite helpful to have an alternate plan in mind to help lift their spirits if their other parent doesn't show up for a visit. Perhaps keeping funds set aside for pizza or simply snuggling up for a movie or a good read-aloud story would help alleviate the disappointment they feel when their other parent doesn't follow through on their plans.

Keep the doors of communication open

Let your kids know they can share their feelings with you without worrying that they may upset you. If they feel angry, frustrated, confused or sad, they need to know they can vent their emotions without fear of negative repercussion.

Don't get left holding the bag

It's one thing to want to help your kids feel better if your ex abandons them on visit days, it's another to always be left picking up the pieces in a situation where someone is directly disobeying a court order. There are definite legal steps you can take to rectify such problems. Instead of allowing repeated failures to multiply, you can bring such situations to the court's immediate attention.

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