“What Happens When Our Visitation Schedule Gets Mixed Up?”

Judges encourage parties to make agreements between themselves to alter visitation as needed. Although they caution to always put this in writing, many people do not do so. So what happens when the parties have been doing something that is somewhat or totally different from what is down on paper?

First, you need to be aware that if you don’t do an amendment or stipulation to change your orders, either party can, at any time, ask law enforcement to enforce the orders as written. Law enforcement will go off the latest court-endorsed order rather than any other document or agreement. So keep that in mind.

Second, if the times and dates can be calculated from the order, that is what law enforcement is going to do.

Third, sometimes orders are not able to be sorted out. For instance, what if your order says alternating weekends, but you started the order three years ago, exchanged and changed weekends, and now it is not possible to easily tell whose weekend it is? It is going to be very hard for law enforcement to figure out, and they will not literally count back the calendar through 3 years of weekends to figure it out. They are going to tell you to go to court to get an order from the judge stating whose weekend it is.

Fourth, if you have done a substantially different schedule for quite a while, this might become a new status quo. You can file a modification request and ask the judge to keep the previous schedule since it is in the best interests of the children. For this, keeping a calendar is key, since the judge will want to see some proof and actual dates of what the visitation schedule really was.

In general, you need to keep in mind that any time you have a court order, that is what is officially in the record and will be enforced if push comes to shove.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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