After the upheaval of a divorce, it’s so important to help return your children’s lives and schedules to something stable and regular. While splitting your children’s time between two homes comes with its own aspects of upheaval, there are things you and your co-parent can do to create a schedule that best promotes your children’s happiness. Read on for some guidelines in creating your visitation schedule.
Create a schedule that’s age-appropriate: When kids are little, they need a great deal of time in their parents’ physical presence to form an attachment that will last. As children get older, they need less in-person time with their parents to feel close to them, and also begin to develop relationships and extracurricular activities outside the home that will make them want to remain in the home that is closer to those friends and places. As a result, it may be best for your children to form a schedule that offers frequent switching of the custodial parent for small kids, and less for children as they get older and can communicate with the away parent via text and phone call.
Keep the schedule simple and memorable, and modify it infrequently: While it is a must that your custody schedule is in writing, creating a schedule that requires you to look at that schedule constantly to remember where your kids are supposed to be, or remembering if it’s the first or third week in a month and who has which, when, will become stressful for you and your kids. Instead, create something that’s easy for you and your children to remember, and try not to modify it any more than necessary, so that your kids have the security and predictability of routine that they crave.
Ask for special days early: Hopefully, you’ve already determined where your children will be for major holidays (if not, be sure to confirm such a schedule as soon as possible). However, there may be other significant days where you’ll want to be with your children that you hadn’t yet decided at the time of the divorce, such as your birthday, or any summer vacations on which you may want to take your kids. Be sure to bring up these dates with your co-parent and children as early as possible to be sure that your ex doesn’t plan anything for the same dates, and to reduce the potential for conflict.
Check back in with the group on a regular basis: While sticking to a schedule as much as possible is best for you and your kids, that doesn’t mean the schedule should never change. Your kids may have taken on a new activity where it would be more helpful to be at one parent’s house than another’s, or perhaps your former spouse’s schedule preferences could change. Remaining flexible to others’ needs will make them more enthusiastic about being flexible themselves should your own needs change down the line.
If you are in need of legal help with a divorce or dispute over child custody in Kentucky, seek out knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys who want to help your family heal by contacting the Florence family law firm Greta Hoffman & Associates for a consultation, at 859-535-0264.