What to do if I’m in debate with my ex who is the custodial parent in regards to visitation schedule?

My work schedule has changed and I am unable to pick up my kids at my current court appointed time. She has drafted a modification that changes a bunch of things besides visitation that I do not agree with. My court order requires mediation before court filings. She has sent numerous emails stating that she will not cooperate during mediation and request shortened visitations among other things unless I sign her modification. Is this blackmail?

Asked on January 15, 2013 under Family Law, Illinois


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Keep the emails-- it's not blackmail, but it is what the law calls "bad faith."  More and more court systems have gone to alternative dispute resolution programs that include mediation as a way to get parties to work out their differences, thereby reducing bickering in the courtroom.  The parties are required and expected to participate in this process in good faith.  If she says that she will not participate in good faith and actually follows through with the same poor attitude during the mediation, then ask the court to order her to reimburse you for your part of the expense for the medication-- since her participation was in bad faith. 

You are not required to agree to her demands just because that's what she wants.  In the end, the court will make a decision that is in the best interest of the child.

As a side note, the issues seem to have arisen over a change in your schedule which prevent you from personally picking up the children.  Unless your orders specifically prohibit it, you can designate another adult (like your parents or a good friend) to pick them up for you and care for them until you get off.  This isn't required-- but just a suggestion that would be easier than a full blown modification suit.

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