Q: I’ve been married to my husband for a year — and, yes, our relationship started when he was still married, but no one really knows that. Most just think he moved on very quickly. Fast forward to now. My husband and I moved four hours away from the ex. The order states transportation be split equally. We agreed to meet halfway. The time and date is set for weeks in advance, but she’s always late by an hour or more. It’s frustrating to drive two hours, then wait. We’ve talked to her about it, but no change. I feel like it’s done on purpose. Your advice?

A: OK, first the red flag, and that’s the fact that you seem to believe the ex hasn’t put two and two together. Even if she hasn’t said anything, we think she probably knows, or at least suspects, your relationship started earlier than you’ve been telling people. Add in that Dad moved away and transportation is far more complicated than it used to be and we wouldn’t be surprised if she is late on purpose.

We aren’t going to get into how you and your husband got together, but we will address the issue of moving. The most common feeling when it comes to this is: “He (or she) was the one who chose to move away, so why do I have to drive two hours to accommodate him?” The answer is because the court order says so. But she drags her feet — being late is a not-so-subtle reminder of how unhappy she is that the rules were changed midstream without her consent. In other words, this is a control issue.

From your perspective, this is probably just one more really aggravating thing she’s doing to make your life miserable (believe us, both sides usually feel that way). And while you simply want to get on with your life, she’s angry it’s so easy for you to do that. Meanwhile, both of you are carting these kids around for four hours a stretch.

Both homes have to start obeying Ex-Etiquette rule No. 1 — put the kids first. You need to focus on what both homes can do to make this trip easier on the kids, and that doesn’t involve dragging your feet, whispering under your breath “why is that woman always late?” Overhearing comments like that puts this mess on the kids’ small shoulders and makes them dread the visit. You all need to drop the pretense of being in the right and look for an answer based on the kids’ best interest. Once you do that, it will be much easier on everyone.

Dr. Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe, authors of “Ex-Etiquette for Parents,” are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com).