If you are the parent of a child under the age of 18 and are planning on getting divorced, child visitation will probably need to be part of your agreement. Visitation agreements should be fair and easy to follow but they must also take the needs of the child into account. Read on to find out more about visitation agreements and handling things when it's time to go.
Visitation: Usually a Must-have
Not all parenting agreements will include visitation provisions. Schedules setting out when the non-custodial parent can spend time with their child are usually part of the divorce when the parents agree on, or the judge orders, sole custody. When one parent has sole physical custody of the child, the other parent gets visitation privileges. Visitation, when approved by the judge, is an order that should be followed as closely as possible to avoid friction and legal problems. It's important to set things up so that the child can spend enough time with the non-custodial parent and that both parents adhere to the schedule.
Traditional Visitation Practices
The age of the children will influence visitation practices, and any visitation plans can be altered as the child grows up and other things change. A hearing should be planned when that occurs. In most cases, school attendance overwhelmingly affects visitation. That means the non-custodial parent may spend time with the child after school, on school holidays, and on weekends. Efforts not to interfere with homework and after-school activities are key.
The Visitation Exchange
Parents who decide to divorce are not usually the best of friends anymore, so visitation exchanges can be stressful. Here are few considerations to keep in mind when doing the visitation hand-off:
- Communicate with each other. If a party is running behind schedule, if a vehicle needs repair, or if a parent is sick, let the other parent know about it. A simple text is all it takes.
- Have a plan to be ready at all times and allow the non-custodial parent to make up any missed time, as long as they had a good, valid reason to miss their visit.
- If you cannot come into contact with your ex without losing your temper, arrange for them to take charge of the child another way. What you should avoid is your child witnessing fights and other bad behaviors between you.
The family court system supports parenting plans that allow the child to spend a lot of time with both parents. If you are having issues with your visitation plan or your ex, speak to a divorce law attorney about your issues.