Whether you are just beginning co-parenting and coordinating schedules due to visitation, or you have already been following a visitation schedule, I have found following these tips can help you and your children have a great visit and easy transition when going between homes.
- Be on time, whether you are picking up your child, dropping off, or meeting at a neutral location. If you are the custodial parent, have your child ready for their visit. If you are running late, call and let the other parent know. It’s a simple form of common courtesy that can go a long way.
- Visitation is the time you have to spend with your child, having quality time together to enjoy each other’s company. It is not a time to talk about disputes you are having with or bad mouthing the other parent, it’s a time to get out and do something fun together.
- Avoid trying to pump your child for information on what goes on at the other parents’ home, or asking your child to keep secrets from the other parent. You are placing your child in an extremely awkward position which will harm their self-esteem and your relationship with your child.
- You do not have the right to refuse visitation because the other parent hasn’t paid child support. This is a separate issue and you have other appropriate remedies.
- Always be supportive and encouraging when it’s time for your child to visit the other parent. Drop off and pick up times can be tense especially if the parents don’t get along. Make all attempts to be supportive and plan some down time with your child to allow for them to adjust to their new environment.
What’s important is to remember that your children come first and you should do everything you can to ensure they have a great visit and the transition between homes is smooth and drama free. Your children shouldn’t be placed in the middle and should look forward to the time they spend with each parent.
If you need legal assistance in establishing a custody and visitation schedule, or any other family law related matters, please contact attorneys Mary Ellen Flynn or Amanda Vann.