How Do I Set a Time Sharing Schedule if My Spouse Won’t Agree?

July 5, 2021

Divorce is hard enough, but when you have children together, it can be especially fraught. In many cases, the court will set a custody and visitation schedule that attempts to share time as fairly as possible. However, no schedule is perfect, and sometimes obligations and emergencies happen. What can you do when your ex-spouse is inflexible about making adjustments? Your divorce and custody attorney may suggest one or more of the following solutions.

Try to stay consistent

First and foremost, try to keep as consistent a schedule as possible. Children thrive on routine, especially if your divorce is relatively new. Knowing where they will be on any given day is important to them. Depending on the age, it could influence the plans they make with friends—but generally, kids like knowing what to expect from their caregivers.
Another reason consistency is important, especially when dealing with an inflexible ex, is that constantly changing the schedule can make them less likely to bend the “rules.” While true emergencies and other obligations pop up, there’s a big difference between asking if you can change the schedule a few times per year versus every single weekend. When you have a difficult co-parenting relationship, changes like these can cause resentment. The more diplomatic and consistent you can be, the less likely your ex will dig in their heels when something comes up.
Diplomatic attempts

If you and your ex have a cordial relationship (even if it’s strained), it can be helpful to make some diplomatic overtures before getting the lawyers involved. Here are some ways you can try to come to a reasonable agreement without going to court:

  • Have a polite conversation: Always stay polite when discussing these issues with your ex—especially if the relationship is contentious. Explain to them that you’re having difficulty with the schedule (whether for one visit or on a regular basis), and would like to make some changes if they’re amenable.
  • Write a letter: Sometimes phone conversations are not the best way to communicate with your ex. Try writing them a thoughtful letter or email explaining the situation. Avoid being aggressive—that probably won’t get you what you want—but feel free to explain the trouble and why you’re asking for their flexibility.
  • Offer a trade-off: If all else fails, ask your spouse if you can trade days so no one is cheated out of time with the children. They may be more willing to compromise if you reassure them you’re willing to be flexible.

Getting the lawyers involved

Sometimes you will have no choice but to get the lawyers involved. If the court-ordered custody and visitation schedule isn’t working out, your custody and divorce attorney can help you petition the court for a schedule modification.

Divorce can be difficult, but if your ex refuses to be flexible, you have options. Get in touch with the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler today for assistance. We look forward to discussing your situation and helping you find an agreeable solution.

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