Taking Legal Challenges Head-On

How to handle a parent who is always late for custody exchanges

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Child Custody

Custody agreements in Texas are made with the best interests of the children in mind. They are meant to be fair to both parents, allowing both parents to spend quality time with their children.

Most custody orders are specific and include exact times each parent has custody, or possession, as it is called in Texas and where and how exchanges take place.

What is a contempt of court motion?

If your co-parent does not follow the terms of your custody order, you can file a contempt of court motion. This is a motion that asks the judge to order that the co-parent follow the order, or face penalties, such as a fine or even jail time.

However, you may hesitate to file contempt in some cases, such as if your co-parent is habitually late for your exchanges. The problem might not seem big enough to go to court over.

Tips for resolving the problem without court intervention

When it comes to being late for exchanges, there are some things you might want to try before going to court.

If your co-parent is usually only a few minutes late, and the tardiness does not significantly disrupt your life, a simple conversation about the problem is probably best.

Be respectful and civil. Do not accuse them of being lazy, or disorganized, or not caring about your custody time.

Tell them that you recognize that you both have busy lives, but you would appreciate them being on time, so you can plan your schedule accordingly.

There might be things going on you did not know about. Perhaps they got a new job or something in their schedule changes, which makes it harder for them to do the custody exchange on time.

Be open to change

You can always consider modifying your custody schedule to something that works better for you.

Your conversation could get you nowhere. Your co-parent could continue showing up late, or show up later and later, to the point where it does start disrupting your schedule.

In that case, consider a contempt motion. Make sure to document every exchange your co-parent is late for and how late they are.

You will need to prove your case. A judge will want to see these details as evidence. Therefore, having professional help with family law matters such as contempt motions is important.