Tips on Finding a Visitation Schedule that Makes Everyone Happy
Frequently handing off custody of your children can be stressful. Finding a regular and workable custody-sharing schedule can make it feel less burdensome, both for you and your children. Read on to learn about ways to create a lasting custody-sharing schedule that will help your kids thrive after a divorce.
Keep the schedule simple and regular: Rather than creating complex days on and off that you and your co-parent have a hard time remembering, keep the exchange schedule simple, and stray from the schedule as little as possible. A schedule that’s difficult to remember without referring to the calendar can more easily result in crossed wires and children ending up at the wrong home. Kids crave a regular, predictable schedule, and finding a pattern from which you and your former spouse rarely need to deviate will also require less communication with your ex, which can help you avoid conflict.
Communicate the schedule clearly with your kids: Children will feel more relaxed if they know where they’re supposed to be and when they’ll be changing homes. Be sure to communicate the schedule clearly with your children and make them aware of any changes well in advance. For older children, you may want to create a shared electronic calendar to which both you, your co-parent, and your children can always refer.
Make sure that your children feel as though they have a say: Children of divorce can feel as though their lives changed dramatically, and that they had no control over those changes. Offering your older children the opportunity to have input in the creation of a custody-sharing schedule will offer them a chance to feel as though their own schedule of extracurricular and social activities matters, and that they have some control over their lives. Plus, they’ll be more likely to happily comply with a schedule that they feel like they had some say in creating.
Review the schedule with your ex and kids periodically: While it’s smart to create a reliable schedule that will last, it’s also smart to stay flexible and open to suggested changes, and to revisit the existing schedule every few months. A change to your ex’s work schedule or an addition to your children’s after-school schedule could necessitate an alteration to the existing schedule. While it might be your ex asking for a change this time, you might be the one asking for flexibility in the future, so try not to be overly rigid.
For compassionate, dedicated legal assistance with your custodial dispute or divorce in New York, contact the Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello for a consultation on your case, in Kingston at 845-331-4100, or Marlboro at 845-236-4411.