Children have the right to spend time with both of their parents, even when the parents do not live together. When one parent spends more time with the children, the other usually has the right to visitation. Although the court can devise a visitation schedule for you, it may be more appropriate to negotiate your own schedule if possible. You know your children and your situation better than a judge ever could. Here are some tips for establishing a visitation schedule with your co-parent.
- Establish a Regular Routine
Draw up a routine visitation schedule to follow as a matter of regular course. This will be your default situation. When children’s lives are in upheaval because of their parents’ split, having routines to fall back on can be very comforting. A regular visitation schedule helps ensure that your children know what to expect.
- Plan for Special Occasions
These include your child’s birthday and holidays, including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Make specific plans for these occasions that allow the children to spend some quality time with each parent.
- Be Specific in Planning
When establishing a visitation schedule, it helps to be as specific as possible. Go beyond the days of visitation to determine the exact pick-up and drop-off times. This helps reduce legitimate confusion and prevents one parent from making excuses for not abiding by the agreed-upon schedule in dropping off the kids too late, for example. If you do not get this specific, your spouse may feel justified in dropping off the children at 11:59 p.m. on the agreed-upon day, which can cause you anxiety if you were expecting them back by noon.
- Plan for Contingencies
Circumstances may arise that make visitation impossible or impractical for a given week or month. For example, you may get sick or your child may get sick. You must anticipate scenarios such as these and make arrangements in advance for how you and your co-parent will handle them.
- Work Transportation Into the Plan
The visitation schedule should be as detailed as possible including pick-up, drop-off, and other arrangements related to transportation. This is particularly important if you or the other parent lacks transportation suitable for your children.
Above all, remember why you are going to all this trouble. It is for your children’s benefit, so be sure you keep that in mind while you are making plans. If you need help with your visitation schedule, contact a child custody lawyer, like a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD. An attorney will be happy to talk it over with you.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into some tips on setting a visitation schedule for divorcing parents.