It used to be that when two parents got divorced, one parent was granted primary custody and the other was given visitation time. For many parents this was quite frustrating, especially when the courts used to favor mothers. This meant that fathers often only got to see their children every other weekend and some holidays.
But now, child custody and visitation agreements have greatly changed. Instead of sticking with the every other weekend and some holidays rule, many parents are now getting to see their children half of the week — and in some cases — have contact with them every single day.
For parents who are going through a divorce, when trying to come to child custody and visitation arrangements, think about things in terms of what is the best for the child. In many cases, for children to be able to see both of their parents on a more equal basis, this will mean the parents will need to continue to live close to each other.
Not only does this make things easier, but it also reduces the stress for children. Instead of having to make sure everything is packed up and ready to go when leaving one parent’s home, they can rest assured knowing that mom or dad just lives right down the road and they can easily just come back to grab whatever was left behind.
Children also need to know what the visitation schedule is. Even if it is that they are at mom’s house Monday through Wednesday and dad’s Thursday and Friday, with weekends alternating, make sure the schedule is written down and kept at both parents’ homes. This will help to avoid confusion on everyone’s part.
And, when it comes to connecting with children, this does not need to only be done during those visitation times. Rather, parents can email, text or send a Facebook message to just check in and see how homework is going. Some parents are even now using Skype to read bedtime stories to younger children.
In the end, when creating a parenting plan and visitation schedule, remember to work with the other parent and think outside of the box. This could end up benefiting the parents and children.
Source: Huffington Post, “Part Time Presence, Full Time Parent,” Marie Hartwell-Walker, Feb. 7, 2013