Things To Consider When Creating A Visitation Schedule

One of the first things that parents ask about when they come in to our office is how they can maintain quality parenting time with their child in a custody arrangement. No parent wants to miss out on a significant milestone event or lose a close connection due to not seeing the child as much.

A visitation schedule sets the parameters for your parental time moving forward. It’s one of the most important decisions you can make as part of your divorce. It’s key, however, to remember that the schedule is based on what is in the best interest of the child. It is not based on what is the most convenient for each parent.

Here are some of the most important things to consider when creating a visitation schedule.

Your Child’s Age

The age of your child is a huge factor in creating a custody arrangement. With a very young child such as a toddler or infant, they need to be around each parent frequently without large gaps. Elementary school children are fairly resilient and can handle most schedules.

Teenagers, of course, are very concerned with their own social life and usually have a packed schedule of their own. They will need a schedule that can reasonably accommodate that.

As your child gets older, the schedule may need to be flexible and adjust. Remember that only the court has the ability to adjust a visitation schedule.

School And Community Involvement

Remember when your Mom used to tell you that homework always came first. She was right and that needs to be reflected in your visitation schedule.

Children will have midweek homework and project assignments, and they need access to appropropriate resources to do those. Also account for extracurricular activities such as sporting events and concerts, that the child will need to attend. The same can be said for events in the community, such as Scouts, that the child needs to attend regularly.

Parental Schedule and Lifestyle

It’s not completely about the children. Parents need to think about their work and lifestyle schedule and be prepared to accommodate within the parameters of the visitation arrangement.

Parents who live relatively close to each other will have more options when it comes to making a visitation schedule. A parent who has to travel frequently for work will be limited as to what schedule they can accept.

This is one of the reasons that travel time and distance for visitation exchanges needs to be accounted for in a schedule.

Adapting To Change

If you know that your child has trouble with big changes, you can tweak a visitation schedule to accommodate them.  Maybe a schedule with more time scheduled for each parent and a smaller number of exchanges would be appropriate. Or perhaps you should consider a schedule with lots of exchanges so the child gets frequent, reassuring time with both parents.

Don’t forget that one of the biggest factors in how well a child accommodates a visitation schedule is how well the parents get along. If the parents are constantly fighting over schedule issues, especially if they do so around the child, then the child is sure to have adjustment issues during this stressful time.

The most important thing you can do when creating a visitation schedule is to seek the advice of an experienced, caring family attorney. If you’re in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette County, or in the Atlanta metro area, Family Matters Law Group is ready to help you craft a visitation schedule that meets the physical, social, and emotional needs of your child.

Simply use our convenient online contact form to set up an initial consultation. We’re ready to hear your story and fight for a schedule that is in the best interest of your family!