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What Happens if My Co-Parent Fails to Show Up for Visitation?

 Posted on April 22, 2024 in Child Custody

Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerCo-parenting after a divorce is rarely easy and never simple. One of the reasons for this is that each parent now has his or her own separate life to lead. Priorities get shifted around, mistakes are made, the unexpected happens, and emergencies come up.

So, if your co-parent fails to show up for his or her parenting time with your child, it may be a misunderstanding. Furthermore, Illinois law wants to keep parents and their children together. If your ex misses a visit, he or she is not likely to face penalties. 

However, if your co-parent is making a habit of failing to show up for parenting duty, it is something you should discuss with an Illinois family law attorney. A qualified lawyer will help you understand what action to take, if any.

Should I Take Action if My Co-Parent Is Not Showing Up?

Say your ex is consistently failing to appear for his or her parenting time with the child. If action can be taken, does that mean you should take it? Some people might be reluctant to address the issue for fear of “making waves” or inviting hostility. This can be especially true if your ex has been known to be abusive and you fear reprisal.

However, you may want to consider the following:

  • Your child has just been through a divorce, which can be traumatic for children. He or she needs as much stability as possible, and a parent who is suddenly failing to be present is not helping that.

  • When a parent is absent, it can cause the child to feel abandoned and neglected. These feelings can lead a child to engage in unhealthy behaviors.

  • If the child is disappointed when your ex does not show, you are not only missing out on important support from your co-parent but now have to deal with a distressed child on your own.

What Can I Do if My Ex Fails to Show?

Communication with your co-parent should be your first course of action if possible. Your ex might be having a hard time adjusting to post-divorce life or may be experiencing a crisis of some sort. If the issue can be resolved between you, then everybody wins. If this is not possible, then you may be able to take legal action.

Keep in mind that Illinois law is strongly in favor of parents maintaining relationships with their children. Courts, therefore, are reluctant to interfere with child custody after an arrangement is already in place. The law’s chief concern is the interest of the child. So, a court will interfere if the arrangement is no longer healthy for the child.

If you can show a court that your co-parent’s absences are impacting the child’s emotional or psychological well-being, a judge may impose penalties. Such penalties can include fines and/or parenting time modification, which means the judge can restrict that parent’s visitation with the child. 

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Lawyer

Illinois law gives courts broad discretion when it comes to making decisions about child custody. Furthermore, matters of custody and parenting time are especially delicate because even slight changes can impact the child. To understand how to proceed, consult with a skilled Wheaton, Illinois family law attorney. The attorneys at Davi Law Group are efficient, compassionate, and experienced in child custody and parental responsibility matters. Call 630-657-5052 for a free consultation today.

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