Render illustration of Child Custody title on Legal Documents

Child Custody: How to Set up Visitations After Divorce

Did you know that every hour there are about 90 divorces taking place? If you’re in this situation, you probably have a lot on your plate. But nothing as important as child custody.

Divorce isn’t the most ideal situation, but it’s crucial to maintain a civil and strong demeanor when handling visitations.

If you’re struggling to set a proper foundation for visitation, let us help you navigate the uncertain waters.

Children Are the Priority

Part of the process of a divorce is dividing up possessions and assets. This process can be contentious and drawn-out requiring tons of resources and energy.

Don’t lump the children into your pile of assets that you want to claim. Kids are not items or assets. Make sure you keep a child’s best interest at heart in every decision you make.

When setting up the schedules, does your child or children have a tight group of friends or activities tying them to a particular area? Cater to the current schedules they have.

Always factor distance when creating schedules. If you and the other parent live a considerable distance from each other, it might be better to split the year instead of trying to do every other week. 

Choosing to make the children the priority will crystalize your objectives with a visitation schedule. Eventually, your kids will understand and respect any sacrifices you make for their well-being.

Understanding Types of Child Custody

Do you know the different types of custody? Your custody arrangement status has important legal and financial ramifications. Each state is different but here are the general types:

  • Joint physical
  • Legal
  • Full/sole

Joint physical custody means the judge has awarded you and the other parent a 50/50 split in time and responsibilities. However, there may be special circumstances where things aren’t completely even.

Legal custody means one parent has power over aspects of the child’s life such as medical, school, religion, and other parental decisions. This doesn’t always mean the child is living with this parent most of the time.

Full/sole custody generally means that one parent has custody most of the time if not all the time.

Turning the Page

After the divorce is finalized, it’s time for everyone to turn the page. No one will force you and the other parent to be friends, but you must be civil. 

The growth, understanding, and maturity of your child will rest on how the parents can get along.

Understand that there are events that require both parents in attendance. In some cases, your child will want you to be together at a function like a sporting event or awards ceremony.

It might feel like a win if you can get the other parent to drop visitation for a few weeks so you can get more time, but your child ultimately suffers. 

When you are putting together visitation schedules, throw out all emotion or animosity for the other party. As time passes, you’ll be able to turn the page of your weekly planner easily.

If you know someone who is struggling with this aspect of visitation, offer to be there as support. 

In some cases, people are afraid to get divorced because they know the visitation schedule will be difficult. Don’t let that keep you from learning how to get a divorce.

Types of Visitation

There is no set schedule you have to follow when coordinating visitations. There are guidelines a judge might set forth, but if you and the other parent can coordinate on your own, that’s always preferred.

Barring judicial involvement, here are some ideas you can try:

  • School year schedule
  • Every other weekend
  • Half weeks

A school year schedule involves one parent having custody during the school year and the other getting summers. This schedule is usually picked for a set of parents who live a farther distance apart.

For parents who might live only a couple hours away, every other weekend at a non-custodial parent’s home might be ideal. 

If the parents of a child live in the same city or area, half-weeks usually work well. This allows the child to see the other parent frequently without disrupting school or social schedules.

Keep in mind that holidays also need to be coordinated. You can split the day or alternate holidays. To keep one parent from getting the same holidays every year, see if you can switch.

Supervised Visitations

If one parent struggles with alcohol, anger issues, or drug use, then a judge may order supervised visitation. These are generally short visits between a parent and a child overseen by a licensed professional appointed by the court.

Supervised visitations can be extended or eliminated if progress in a parent’s lifestyle and behavior is logged.

Fixed Visitation

In cases where both parents cannot agree or refuse to work together, a fixed visitation can be set by the judge. 

This is not ideal because there is no flexibility within the agreed schedule. In many instances, a judge will be required to sign off on any changes. This means you’ll have to get a lawyer and go to court.

Keep It About the Children

Parents who are involved in complicated and emotional child custody situations need to remember one thing: keep it about the children. You will have to make sacrifices for your kids.

Understanding child custody visitation schedules help you prepare to make a tough situation a little better for everyone. At the very least, you’ll be organized.

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