Setting Up a Child Visitation Schedule That Works

  • By:Karpenski & Schmelkin

Custody arrangements and visitation schedules can be as unique as the parents trying to co-parent after a divorce. A child visitation schedule establishes when the children are under the care of each parent. It will outline specific drop-off and pickup times to avoid any confusion. A good child visitation schedule will also outline how holidays are shared, and what happens when one parent wants to schedule a vacation with the children. If you are going through a contentious divorce, setting up a child visitation schedule that is very specific can help you save some of your sanity.

Your Weekly Schedule

A weekly schedule works best when it is spelled out for both parties involved in a difficult divorce. Pickup times, drop off times and the exact visitation schedule for the entire week should have no ambiguity. When there’s nothing to argue about when it comes to the weekly schedule, there are fewer negative interactions between both parties.

How Transfers are Made

One parent might refuse to bring children to the other parent’s home to switch visitation, while the other is always doing the driving between homes. Establish how transfers are made in the visitation schedule to avoid arguments over transfers. It is often beneficial to pick children up from school, while the other parent finishes their visitation at the beginning of a school day. This way both parents can have minimal interactions with one another during transfers.

A Holiday Schedule

The holidays can be a stressful time, especially when child custody and visitation is between two people who can’t get along. Establish a holiday schedule that gives the children a good amount of time with both parents, and alternate every year if there are holidays that are too brief to split. While your children might not want to go with the other parent for a holiday, keep to the schedule to be fair to both parents.

Handling Vacation Requests

When writing your custody and visitation agreement, include how vacations are going to be handled each year. You don’t want one parent to simply book vacation time without the other parent’s knowledge. When both parents share custody, vacations should be discussed so that both parents understand what the schedule will be during vacation time. It can help to add that one parent can’t book vacation that uses the visitation time of the other parent without their express consent.

If Changes are Necessary

Changes to the visitation schedule are sometimes necessary. If you get sick, or the other parent has an emergency, a slight change to the schedule might be needed temporarily. There should be a way for both parents to communicate with one another to express their need for changes if possible.

Children deserve the love and care that both of their parents provide. When the divorce is difficult, figuring out a visitation arrangement is essential. If both parents struggle to agree on anything, having a comprehensive visitation schedule spelled out ahead of time can make things easier. Remember that children are stuck in the middle, and it is best when you leave children out of the decision-making process.

Ideally, both parents are willing to strike a compromise when creating a child visitation schedule or making adjustments as necessary. In the event you are unable to do so, to reduce the likelihood the court will have to intervene, contact the attorneys at Karpenski & Schmelkin who can help.

Posted in: Child Custody