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Can You Force Your Co-Parent to Take Parenting Time?

Posted on in Child Custody

Can You Force Your Co-Parent to Take Parenting Time?Disputes over parenting time after a divorce or separation usually involve parents fighting to spend more time with their children or claiming that the other parent is withholding the children. You can ask a court to enforce your parenting schedule if you cannot resolve the issue between each other. What if you have the opposite problem? What if your co-parent will not take the children during his or her scheduled parenting time? Can you force your co-parent to take the children? In this situation, you may need to resolve the issue yourself because you are unlikely to legally compel your co-parent to use his or her parenting time.

Potential Problems

Both parents are required to financially support their children after a divorce, but parenting time is not guaranteed to both parties if it would be against the best interests of the children. You may feel happy to receive more parenting time with your children if your co-parent refuses it. However, the situation is still problematic:

  • You may rely on your co-parent having the children at certain times in order to accommodate your work or personal schedule;
  • Your children may be disappointed that they are not seeing their other parent as expected; and
  • Your co-parent may become unpredictable about when he or she wants to have the children.

Taking on more parenting time may require you to adjust or reduce your work hours, which can affect your income. Just as importantly, your children need regular contact with your co-parent to have a stable and healthy relationship with him or her.


You need to ask your co-parent why he or she will not take the children during his or her scheduled parenting time because the reason will determine how to resolve the issue:

  • If the times in the parenting schedule are inconvenient, your co-parent may be willing to take your children at other times;
  • If your co-parent is overwhelmed by his or her parental responsibilities, you may need to take on more parenting time to relieve that burden; and
  • If your co-parent is uninterested in seeing or caring for the children, you should question whether the children would be safe with that parent.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

The solution to your parenting time dispute may require you to modify your parenting agreement. A Kane County divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group can explain the legal process for changing a parenting agreement and file the necessary paperwork. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800. 


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