Divorce and separation is an emotional process. It is easy to let those emotions affect decisions about your children. Taking a practical approach to creating a visitation schedule can help everyone, especially your kids.
If you choose to resolve child custody and visitation with the court, then a judge will decide matters for you. On the other hand, using mediation allows parents to create a custody agreement and visitation schedule on their own terms. If you choose mediation to solve your family law issues, then you will have the power to build a schedule fitting both parents’ needs while benefiting your children. Consider the following tips when deciding your own visitation schedule.
Tips for a detailed visitation plan
Visitation will largely depend on whether you have sole, primary or joint physical custody. If you have sole or primary custody, then your child will primarily live with you while they visit the other parent on nights or weekends. If you choose joint custody, then you may switch week to week. A mediator can help you come to an agreement on what type of custody agreement works best for both parents.
Visitation should allow your child to have frequent and continuous contact with both parents. It is helpful to have a detailed visitation plan to avoid conflict. Ideally, a visitation schedule should work for both parents while allowing your children to focus on school. A visitation schedule will include important items such as:
- Specific pick-up and drop-off times and locations
- A plan for where the kids stay for holidays
- Assigned drivers for after-school activities
Creating a child-focused plan
Keep your children’s best interests in mind while creating a visitation plan. Children must deal with some loss when handling their parents’ divorce. A well-planned visitation schedule will help them manage some of that loss. For example, you may wish to incorporate time with extended family or grandparents into the schedule. Time spent with grandparents can be highly beneficial to kids.
Additionally, it will help to stay prepared yet flexible. Try to give the other parents as much notice as possible for special occasions. Be flexible when the other parent makes requests outside of the visitation schedule for special events. Giving your children the opportunity to participate in family events can help them maintain close family relationships. Overall, a detailed yet flexible visitation schedule will work best for all parties.