During a divorce, you have a lot of issues to work out. If the relationship ended on a bad note, you might find the negotiation of the terms of your divorce not going well.
A topic that often brings out the worst in divorcing spouses is child custody. Aside from legal custody, parents must create a visitation schedule. This document, often called a parenting plan, sets out the details of how you intend on splitting physical custody of the kids. However, this visitation schedule is only valid if it is created properly. Keep these three things in mind when speaking to your spouse about this agreement.
1. The Parents’ Schedule
A mistake that many divorcing couples make is overextending and overpromising themselves, especially when it comes to time with their kids. As such, they may create a visitation agreement around their dream schedule. For example, they may agree to always pick the kids up from school instead of having them go to daycare or home with the other parent. If you rarely get out of work before 5:00 p.m., promising to get your kids at 3:00 p.m. will not work. Thus, always start the parenting plan schedule with that of the parents in mind. Frequent violations of a visitation order may result in a loss of time.
2. The Children’s Needs
Parents going through a divorce may want to take as much time with their kids afterward as possible. However, consideration must be given to what the kids need. When parents put their own needs above those of their children’s when creating a parenting plan, the result may be wrought with difficult conversations and rescheduling. Children need stability and some sort of consistency, especially during and after a divorce. As such, consider their schedules like activities and clubs before nixing them for your own sake.
3. The Children’s Ages
Significant attention needs to be given to the ages of the children at the time of the divorce. If your children are young, and still nursing or have a stronger attachment with one parent over the other, you should not force this time to end. While it is understandable that you want to get your time in since you will not see them every day, you have to do what is appropriate for their emotional development. When you and your spouse cannot agree, the court will determine what is in the best interests of the children. If that means less time with one parent for a while, then it will be ordered.
A divorce lawyer is an excellent resource for guiding you through the drafting of a legally enforceable and realistic visitation schedule.
For more information call a family law attorney, like a family law attorney in Austin, TX, today.
Thank you to the experts at Gray & Becker, P.C. for their insight into family law practice.