Legal Blog

Child Custody and Access: Coping with Inconsistent Visitation

Schedule and consistency are good for everyone. They enable people to plan. This is especially true when parenting through divorce. Fear of the unknown is one of the most difficult parts of the process for parents and children alike, but a solid routine can alleviate a good deal of that fear.

So, you and your ex-spouse have worked out a detailed co-parenting plan that defines the children’s schedule, and there is a hope that it will be followed. Unfortunately, issues arise about time of pick up and drop off, last minute changes, cancellations, and no shows. It’s hard to cope with visitation when it is inconsistent. Here are some tips that may help:

– Inconsistency may be handled with provisions or understandings for confirming plans within some set amount of time before a visit.

– Sometimes the non-custodial parent simply needs to be told that their child wants to see them regularly.  The non-custodial parent may not even realize how much their absence is affecting the child.

– If your former spouse is consistently unreliable, the best coping mechanism is to take control. That can mean having alternate plans in case the visit doesn’t happen, or doing the pick-ups and or drop-offs yourself so you’re not waiting, calling or texting to confirm or remind. It is a lot of work for the compliant parent, and often there is a reluctance to do it, because it should not have to be done at all.  But, one must be realistic about the other parent.

The biggest challenge is not to bad mouth the inconsistent parent while trying to plan your life. Make it clear to your children that both parents love them and that schedule inconsistencies are not their fault. Everyone has something unexpected come up, or forgets a date or time. So, overreaction should be avoided. If the situation becomes chronic, maybe a sit down with the parties would help, or the use of a mediator or other neutral to get back on schedule. Whatever happens, resist the urge the blame the inconsistent parent for the fact that plans go unfulfilled, especially in front of the children.


If you need help with any issue regarding child custody and access, please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at or 301-575-0381.




Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 36 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.



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