Your parenting plan or custody order is the rulebook for sharing parental rights and responsibilities. There will be guidance about time-sharing and also how you split decision-making authority.
You should follow the parenting plan and communicate as soon as possible if you need to deviate from the existing schedule or arrangements. Things do happen that force families to make unexpected changes. When issues arise, like a child needing medical care or receiving detention and having a different afternoon schedule than normal, you may need to make changes to your parenting schedule as a result.
Agreeing to compromise and make changes when things arise is reasonable, but does that mean that your ex can just cancel your parenting time?
Cancellations should lead to rescheduled parenting time
No one knows when illness or misconduct will affect your family schedule, but such complications are predictable in the broad sense that you know they will eventually occur.
Most parenting plans specifically include provisions allowing parents to reschedule time, especially if the parent losing time with the children isn’t the one who made the decision to change the schedule. Your ex shouldn’t cancel your time just to interfere in your relationship with the children.
Your ex may occasionally call you and tell you that things changed. When that happens, being calm in the moment and flexible benefits the whole family. Knowing that you have the right to reschedule your parenting time is also important, as you can bring it up in the moment and then revisit it later as necessary.
What if make-up time never happens?
If your ex has developed a habit of canceling or shortening your time with the children and not committing to make-up time, their actions may constitute a violation of your time-sharing arrangements.
Sometimes, you may have grounds to go to the family courts and ask for enforcement. The courts can compel your ex to allow makeup parenting time. If your ex continues to deny you access to the children or interfere in your relationship with them, then asking for a modification may be the next step you need to take. The courts can potentially award you more time with the children to compensate for your ex’s attempt to disrupt your relationship.
Knowing your rights as someone who shares child custody can help if a dispute arises between you and your ex.