Making the Most of Your Visitation Schedule
Parents and children can have a hard time adapting to a visitation schedule after a divorce. When you once had unlimited time together, it can feel restricting to have limits put in place. But a visitation schedule does not need to interfere with your relationship with your child.
Here are some ways to make the most of your visitation schedule:
Follow a Routine
It may seem weird to have a schedule within a schedule, but children thrive on routines because routines mean predictability. Uncertainty can provoke anxiety and fear in children. Knowing that Dad will be the one to pick them up from school on Friday can be a comforting thing.
A routine will also help you to establish new traditions. Perhaps going out for dinner and bowling before spending the weekend with Mom will give your children a tradition that they will treasure for the rest of their lives.
This could help to smooth out the disruption to both your schedules around holidays, too. For example, perhaps having a visitation schedule that allows you to see your kids on Christmas Eve, but not Christmas Day would feel like a loss. But it also allows you to create new traditions for your kids and elevate the occasion so that you and your children make the most of your time together.
Even with a routine, you risk wasting time in your visitation schedule by:
- Discussing what you want to be doing with your kids
- Researching where to go and how to get there
- Buying tickets for events
- Dealing with unplanned contingencies, like traffic
Planning can help you to cut down or eliminate wasted time in your visitation schedule. A plan can streamline your visit and allow you to do more with a limited block of time.
For example, you could pack a lunch and buy tickets online before picking your kids up to go to the amusement park. This will allow you to spend more time on rides and less time standing in lines to get tickets and food.
Talk to Your Co-Parent
Maximizing your time may require compromise. Being able to talk to your child’s other parent can help you to adjust your visitation schedule, gaining blocks of time that can allow you to get more out of your visit. For example, you could consider trading some of your time to get a longer block of time in the future to take your kids to visit relatives or go camping.
You should not test the bounds of a visitation schedule in a divorce decree. Visitation is not a situation in which it is easier to ask for forgiveness, rather than permission. Instead, talk with your co-parent about your plan beforehand and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Talking will give you a few benefits, which include:
- Eliminating your legal risk of violating your visitation schedule.
- Accumulating goodwill
- Encouraging your co-parent to do likewise if a similar situation comes up again
Remember that getting the most out of your visitation schedule should include minimizing conflict with your ex-spouse.
Know Your Rights
You are entitled to every minute in your visitation schedule. Do not let your ex-spouse bully you into surrendering time or allow them to appropriate your time. If you have a question about your rights under your visitation schedule, contact us. At the Gucciardo Family Law Firm, we are experienced in child custody and visitation issues and can provide you with legal advice about your visitation schedule.
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