What You Need to Consider When Preparing a Visitation Schedule

Children of divorce can often have difficulty adjusting to the changes that come from their parents separating. When working out custody issues, it’s best to keep in mind that your child’s preferences and needs should be a top priority. There are many variations to a visitation schedule, allowing parents to get creative and adopt a routine that works well for everyone. Here are a few important elements to remember when creating such a schedule for your kids:

The agreement will become a signed order.

Once you sign off on the dotted line, your schedule and agreement will become a court order. Whether it is by agreement or court order, you will find that the custody of your children looks different than that of other families you know. Don’t compare. Some parents receive sole custody and are only obligated to schedule brief visitations with their former spouse. Others have an even 50/50 split, while some are ordered to have the children visit one parent up to 80% of the time. Remember that it’s your legal obligation to follow the timeframe put in place during your divorce and follow the your schedule accordingly.

Make sure your child is happy.

Ultimately, a visitation schedule should be about meeting the needs of your children as much as your own needs. If the children want to spend a special weekend with you and go on a different trip with your ex, you should make sincere effort to accommodate that. Older children might want to be included in the plans their friends are making and need to stay with one parent in order for that to happen. Whatever the case may be, the emotional needs of your kids should be heavily considered.

Holidays can be the exception.

Often times a visitation schedule can be modified to allow for specific holiday traditions and trips. Make sure to discuss with your children which parts of the holidays they want to spend with each parent. Perhaps they want to have Christmas with your side of the family and Thanksgiving with your former spouse’s side. Normal schedules might go by the wayside during this time, and both parents should make every effort to be flexible.

Summer break should be considered.

While an agreeable schedule should be followed for the bulk of each year, summer break can often throw parents for a loop. Instead of having school time to allow for parental freedom, both parents must realize that their children will need around the clock attention. This is especially true for younger children, but should also be remembered for teens who might come and go throughout the day. Again, a schedule should be put in place that makes everyone happy.

Traveling can make an impact.

If you now live a considerable distance from your ex, the time it takes to transport your children back and forth between your households might influence the visitation schedule. Most of the time it makes more sense for visits to be for longer periods of time rather than having shorter and more frequent visits. Keep in mind that the time it takes traveling to and from each home will take a toll on your kids too. An example is enrolling the child in a tutoring class or extracurricular activity such as guitar lesson. Don’t enroll in such activity if it affects the emotional and physical bandwidth.

Reconcile differences by finding middle ground.

Normal couples have differences. Do you remember how you had reasonable differences about child related activity (which extra curricular activity) or issue (which doctor or tutor to go to). Such real life differences are heightened in a divorce case. Train yourself to find middle ground by determining what is in the best interest of the child. We wrote about how decisions are made in the best interest of the child. Follow the link here.

If you are going through a divorce and need help navigating your custody and visitation schedules, please contact Ahluwalia Law, P.C. today. We can help answer your questions and set up a schedule that meets everyone’s needs.

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Written by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation

Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation

Welcome to Ahluwalia Law, P.C., the home of Attorney Madan Ahluwalia. Madan has been practicing law since 1994, and has been managing his own firm serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1995. He is passionate about building long-lasting relationships with each client, which begins by offering affordable, efficient, and personalized services.