"I'm Late! I'm Late for a Very Important Date!"

The court orders call for visitation exchanges on Tuesdays at 5:30pm at the local Vons. I manage to make it on time, every time. My ex, however, cannot seem to be on time to save his life. He has been as late as 45 minutes! Waiting around the store or in the parking lot is very difficult for our two year old, not to mention inconvenient for my schedule. Then, after being late, he wants to extend the next exchange by 45 minutes to make up his lost time. This is completely unfair. Not that I want to limit his visitation time, but the orders were made with our schedules in mind.

"Can I cancel the other parent's visitation time if the other parent is late for the start of his/her visitation?" This is a question that I am asked frequently as it is, unfortunately, very common.

There are times when a person may be late due to unexpected traffic or circumstances beyond their control. It happens to all of us. However, in cases where one parent is consistently late, it can cause stress and confusion for the timely parent and for the children. It can affect your own personal routine as well as the routine of the children. If the other parent is consistently late for his/her visitation, you may want to write him/her a letter outlining the times that he/she has been late and how it affects the entire family. You may want to agree in writing that if the parent is late to his/her visitation more than 30 minutes that the visitation time may be canceled. This may already be included in your orders as it is becoming increasingly more popular as a default order. If it cannot be resolved by mutual agreement, you may want to ask the court to make it an order. However, if you do decide to ask the court for relief, it would be prudent to show first that you have made a few good faith attempts to resolve this matter out of court. Your emails to the other parent can serve as evidence to this so remember - don't put anything in writing that you don't want anyone to see.

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