Divorce, separation, death and the breaking up of a family can be hard.
It is even more difficult for a child and they have to deal with the emotional and psychological effect of now having a split family.
More families are being broken apart in today’s society than ever before and parents are often at a loss as to how to protect the child, keep in contact and maintain some semblance of normalcy.
This is generally best accomplished by setting up a visitation schedule.
If you watch family custody cases on the television or have been in the courts, then you know firsthand that judges try to have this in place for parents who are sharing parental custody or want to be in contact with their kids.
Sometimes, it is not so easy to create child visitation schedules, but it is still doable if both parents are willing to try. Else a judge will set one for you and you will have to follow it.
What to Consider When Creating Visitation Schedules
So, you and your ex-spouse are at the point where you need to make a schedule. This can be stressful, but it will go better if you think about the needs of your child and compromise.
By default, many parents go for the alternating weekend schedule. This is not always possible to accommodate.
Keep an open mind and if you plan your activities ahead of time, including those for work, you will be better prepared to create a schedule for you, your ex-spouse and your child’s needs.
An Alternating Weekend Visitation Schedule
This model is generally used when a parent without custody of the child needs to get some allotted time. Start with minimal hours.
Because the child resides with the custodial parent full time, they need to be home, to be taken to school on Monday morning. So, this generally allows the other parent to have the child from Friday night to Sunday night. And then the child is returned home.
This is the traditional model.
However, you can also consider another compromise to this schedule.
A Weeknight Including a Weekend Visitation Schedule
In this model, you mix the alternating schedule along with one-week night. Usually, it is the same day each week, so that there is no confusion.
You can consider this if you live close to your child’s main home or parent.
This template can be tweaked to suit your needs. For instance, the non-custodial parent can pick the child up from school, and they then spend a few hours.
Then they come back on the alternate weekend and spend from Friday to Sunday night.
Extending Weekends through Monday Visitation Schedule
For those parents who want to be even more considerate to the fact that one parent won’t be in at a particular time on Friday, you can select this model.
The extended weekend allows one parent to have the child through to Monday evening of the following week.
Flexible Visitation Schedules
We all live in a time when work life can be just as dynamic and precarious as home life.
Parents travel for work, go to business meetings across the country, or across the globe. There are emergency work obligations periodically and, as adults, you can both compromise for the child’s best interest.
As such, create a schedule that works for your family dynamic.
So, be open to creating a more flexible visitation schedule. One, which will permit each parent to spend quality time with the child, even if it means that in some weeks, they get more days than they typically would.
The non-custodial parent could be the one who is flexible enough to do pickups and drop-offs at school and afternoon activities.
They might be the ones to make dinner in the evening before taking the child to the other parents dwelling.
There is no strict rule for how visitations should go unless it was previously set by a judge.
Outside if that, you have freedom and flexibility.
Make the Child the Priority
Remember, the child is “numero uno.”
If you focus on their needs, this process will be easier.
Fighting, arguing and holding grudges can only do more harm than good. Yes, there will be friction if one parent is unwilling to corporate, but as best as possible try to do what is best for your child.
Children usually love their parents equally unless something has happened to affect those emotions negatively.
They would have already been dealing with enough, in terms of getting used to a new way of life, a new home and a new routine.
Do not add to their psychological stress, by denying them access to one parent.
If necessary, take your time in creating a schedule that works.
Distance yourself from any negative emotional triggers and take time for careful thought, put pen to paper and create a visitation schedule, which benefits all parties involved, especially your child.