If you are facing a divorce, it is very likely that you will need to create a visitation schedule with your children to which you and your former spouse can both agree. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. It is particularly difficult if your children are very young infants or teenagers who have their own activity schedule.
However, it is possible to create a good visitation schedule that works for everyone. The attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center offer the following advice for those who are attempting to agree to visitation with their children.
- Talk to your children. Even if you cannot talk to your former spouse constructively, you can involve your children in your visitation planning. However, you must strike a balance between your children’s wishes and what is best and possible in your circumstances. The older children become, the more resistant they may be to leaving their primary home on weekends or holidays, particularly if they have friends at their schools or in the neighborhood. However, this is not a good reason to avoid visitation.
- Consider distances. If you or your former spouse plans on moving, factor travel time into weekend visitation as well as the expense of traveling. If you live an hour apart in a congested city area, for example, it may be a good idea to trade visitation pickup and drop-off dates with your spouse to avoid either of you spending all your time on the road. Additionally, you should consider travel for holidays and other long-term visits, especially if you plan to take your children cross-country to visit relatives. This will require advanced planning and you may want to make special provision for this time in your agreement to ensure everyone understands the plans.
- Use age-appropriate visitation strategies. It is permissible to build a “sliding” visitation scale into your agreement if your children are very young. An infant or toddler will probably benefit from less frequent visits since small children rely heavily on routine. As your child grows older, you can word your agreement so that your visitation time increases.
If you are considering building a visitation schedule, be sure to talk with your attorney about possible strategies. The attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center will be happy to work with you to ensure your rights are protected as you negotiate custody issues with your former spouse.