When parents divorce, the children go through a lot of emotional distress. The parents may or may not realize what the children are going through, but both should work together to create a sense of normalcy for the children. Visitation is just one way to do that. Regardless of your feelings for each other, put your differences aside and create a schedule that’s best for your children. The following are some things you should do in regards to a child visitation schedule.
Again, the visitation schedule is about your children creating strong relationships with both sides of the family. Be flexible with the schedule. If your ex-spouse’s side of the family always does a big party on July 3rd, but your family doesn’t party until the 44h, it probably wouldn’t hurt you to give every July 3rd to your ex-spouse for visitation. While you would typically switch off every year for holidays such as Independence Day, you could be flexible in special circumstances such as these.
Your child loves both of his or her parents. While you may have unkind feelings toward your ex-spouse, your child is trying to make sense of the divorce, so be nice about visitation. Encourage your child to have a great time while he or she is with the other parent. Build up the visit just as you would build up a holiday or other special occasion. When the child comes back from the visit, don’t quiz him or her about what happened and who was there. It’s not the child’s job to be your spy, so if you have a serious concern, speak with your ex-spouse directly. Otherwise, just make sure your child had a good time and is happy, and that you’re happy to see him or her again.
If you were still married to your child’s other parent, you probably wouldn’t spend every day going to amusement parks and ice cream parlors, so you shouldn’t do that when you have the kids for visitation. While you want it to be a special time spent together, you also want to make it normal. Make sure your kids have some chores to do and that there’s downtime at the house when you all just hang out together. Your kids shouldn’t feel like your house is a vacation home, but rather just another normal home where they live for short periods of time with their mom or dad.
Start With Respect
Visitation schedules are really all about respecting the other spouse and encouraging the children to respect both parents as well. Respect is a great place to start creating your schedule, and when you do it that way, you’ll end up with the best results. Contact a family law attorney, like a family law attorney in Arlington, TX, for help deciding what to do next.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into how to make visitation a good experience for the children and parents.