Divorce is tough on kids—and feeling let down by a no-show parent often makes them feel worse. If your ex is constantly cancelling plans with the kids, you’re bearing an unfair burden, too. Let your Barrie divorce lawyer know as soon as you realize there’s a problem, because he or she might be able to work through the legal system to encourage your ex to live up to his or her obligations.

Excuses, Excuses

“I would come, but…” Sound familiar?

Sadly, many families have to deal with a parent who’s always too busy to come, shows up late or doesn’t bother to call at all. It hurts an adult when someone doesn’t show up after promising to do so, and kids can feel it even more acutely. They might even internalize your ex’s absence and blame themselves, wondering if they’ve done something that makes them unworthy of a visit.

Things like these can affect their self-esteem and make forming trusting relationships difficult later in life, so if you’re concerned that an absentee parent is psychologically damaging your child, ask your Barrie divorce lawyer for a referral to a trained therapist who can help your family work through the issues.

Picking Up the Slack

When your ex doesn’t show up for scheduled visits, you’re left to deal with the consequences. You’re probably feeling several emotions, ranging from anger to sadness, and that’s perfectly normal.

While you don’t have to make excuses for your ex’s bad choices, you do have to make sure your kids are secure in the fact that you both love them. Your Barrie divorce lawyer will probably advise you to avoid bad-mouthing your ex—not only because it could damage your case if you’re still in the process of divorce, but because it can also damage your kids’ perceptions of the world around them.

As the only reliable parent your children have, they need you to continue to be there for them. Let them express their feelings without interjecting your own. If possible, try salvaging the unused visitation time by doing something special that encourages face-to-face time with you, like a board game, a trip to the park or an intense fort-building session in the living room.

Enforcing Visitation: What Your Barrie Divorce Lawyer Can Do

Since every case is unique, only your Barrie divorce lawyer can provide you with legal advice that matches your situation. If your ex is consistently a no-show when it comes to visitation, your lawyer might be able to help you rearrange your child custody agreement, adjust the amount of money you receive in child support or follow other legal routes that can help your kids heal.