If you have minor children, sharing custody with your ex can be the hardest part of divorce. You have to go days or sometimes weeks without seeing your kids. You also have no control over what happens when your children are with your ex.
The only thing harder than watching your kids leave with your ex is when they start begging you to stay home instead of going with their other parent. If your children don’t want to spend time with their other parent, can you just cancel on their behalf?
Your ex may blame you if the kids don’t want to see them
Imagine how disappointed you would feel if your kids didn’t come home to you after a long weekend with their other parent. Now imagine that you think your ex is the reason they don’t want to see you.
It’s easy to understand how a child’s preference could strain the already uncomfortable relationship between divorced co-parents. If your kids refuse to go, your ex may think it’s what you want and not what the children asked for. They might also try to blame you, claiming that you have turned the kids against them through parental alienation.
Getting an explanation from your children about why they want to cancel and explaining to your ex so that they can address the issues could improve things in the future. Otherwise, you may have to ask for a custody modification.
You can’t just deny parenting time on your own
You may not want to force a sobbing 11-year-old into someone’s car, but you have a legal obligation to comply with a custody order. If you keep canceling, your ex could allege parental alienation or a violation of the order.
If they take action first, the court could rule in their favor and possibly punish you by cutting your parenting time. If they are old enough and mature enough, the New Hampshire family court may consider a child’s preferences in a modification hearing. Asking to reduce your ex’s parenting time because it is what your kids want can protect you from consequences like the loss of parenting time.