Your parenting plan likely includes both a rough division of your parenting time and a proposed schedule. Adhering to that schedule will make the transition to co-parenting easier and more predictable for your family.
Of course, you and your ex have the option of making adjustments to that schedule as needed based on family circumstances. You can rearrange your custody exchange plans when your child schedules an impromptu play date with a classmate, for example.
Of course, you depend on your ex being reliable and committing to their time with your children. If they cancel parenting time once or twice without making up the time, that isn’t a major issue. Being flexible is good for your co-parenting dynamic. However, if they frequently failed to show up for time with the children, that could cause serious complications.
Children suffer when they feel abandoned
If your ex won’t show up to spend time with the children, the children will likely take it personally. Even rare cancellations with very credible explanations, like an unexpected emergency at work, could leave children feeling abandoned and hurt for days.
When one parent consistently cancels their time with the children, it is hard for the kids in the family to understand that such cancellations are not personal. They may display negative emotions, withdraw from relationships or struggle at school when they feel rejected by one parent.
You can’t plan your life without a reliable co-parent
Whether you want to get to the gym to meet with your personal trainer or to schedule a test for your professional license, you need to have a co-parent who shows up when they should. If your ex cancels frequently enough that you can’t trust them to show up as scheduled, their instability will affect your life.
When parental cancellations have gone from an infrequent consideration to a constant issue for your family, you may want to go to court and ask for a custody modification. Reducing your ex’s time will mean that your children don’t feel the rejection of all those canceled visits, and in some cases, a judge may even change child support to reflect a change in the parenting schedule.
Knowing when to update your custody arrangements will make shared custody less stressful for your children.