What Can I Do if my Ex Won’t Put our Child on the Plane for Thanksgiving?

Yesterday, I posted about Utah’s Thanksgiving holiday schedule.

That post included a portion about Thanksgiving flights and communicating with the ex about the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you follow the advice in that post, you’re unlikely to experience problems when it comes time to put your kid on a plane for Thanksgiving.

But what happens if you do experience problems, like the ex refuses to put your child on the plane?

Maybe you had a dispute about paying for the ticket. Maybe your ex doesn’t like you new husband or wife. Maybe your ex has some other excuse.

Whatever the problem, your kid’s not getting on that plane.

So, what do you do?

  1. Communicate about the problem.

There are relatively few problems in divorce that cannot be solved through effective communication. What normally happens, however, is people shut off when a problem comes up, which leads to the other person shutting down, and communication becomes strained or broken. If there is a problem with the Thanksgiving holiday, communicate effectively.

  1. Try to be creative about a solution.

If there is a legitimate problem that is preventing your ex from putting your child on a plane (e.g., return flight gets the child home too late), try to be creative about a solution. Don’t automatically go to the “I’m right” place and stay there. I’m not saying give in, but be creative in your problem-solving.

  1. Tell your ex you’ll file an order to show cause (i.e., motion for contempt).

If, after effective communication and creative problem-solving, your ex still won’t put your kid on the plane for Thanksgiving, you may need to tell him or her you’ll file an order to show cause (i.e., a motion for contempt).

In an order to show cause, you explain how your ex violated your divorce decree. You also ask for make-up parent-time and for attorney fees for having to bring the problem before the court for enforcement.

  1. If your ex follows through and does not put your child on the plane, file your order to show cause.

If it gets to the point that you have to threaten an order to show cause and your ex still doesn’t follow the divorce decree, file your order to show cause.

Don’t threaten if you aren’t going to follow through. All that will do is embolden your ex and ensure this sort of things happens again and again.


Hopefully, everything works out well with Thanksgiving. It’s one of the greatest holidays there is.

If everything did not work out well, we hope this has helped you come up with a game plan moving forward.

Published On: November 21st, 2017Categories: Child CustodyComments Off on What Can I Do if my Ex Won’t Put our Child on the Plane for Thanksgiving?
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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