Making a Custody-Sharing Schedule You and Your Kids Will Be Happy to Follow
It can be challenging to find a custody-sharing schedule that everyone in your family can tolerate, but finding a balance that allows everyone involved to feel heard and respected will make the schedule much more likely to stick. Read on for some suggestions on how to design a visitation schedule, and consult with an experienced Kentucky family law attorney for assistance in negotiating a custodial arrangement that meets your and your children’s needs.
Request time on significant holidays and for vacations far in advance: While you may have established a holiday custodial schedule with the family court during your divorce, there are other days where it might be important for you to be with your kids that constitute a deviation from your existing schedule, such as a family reunion or your birthday. Request these days of your ex far in advance, to avoid surprises and to allow them time to rearrange their own schedule.
Consider your children’s developmental needs: Young children need very regular face-to-face time with their parents to build a lasting, secure bond. This can necessitate you and your ex alternating custody several times a week. However, older children often have extracurricular commitments and important relationships outside the family, and can maintain feelings of closeness through phone calls and texts. Once your kids reach a certain age, frequent custodial hand-offs may not be as desirable, or necessary.
Allow your children to contribute to the conversation: Divorce and the many ways it changes a child’s life can leave children feeling out of control. When you create your custody-sharing schedule, allow your children to offer their feelings and opinions on how the schedule should look. The more they feel like they’re being heard and respected, the more likely they will happily comply with the schedule, and the more in control they will feel.
Make sure everyone is on the same page: A complex schedule that’s frequently being changed can leave you, your ex, and your children confused and forgetful about who has custody next. Communicate clearly with both your ex and kids about the schedule, and try to change it as seldom as possible. Make sure the schedule is in writing, with a copy lodged with the court, and strongly consider creating an electronic calendar that can be shared with your co-parent and with older children. Electronic communication will not only help you avoid opportunities to get into a shouting match with your former spouse, but it will also offer a written record of your communications, which can come in handy if disagreements escalate and you’re required to go back to court.
If you are seeking dedicated, knowledgeable legal help for your Kentucky divorce or dispute over child custody, contact Louisville family law attorneys John Ruby & Associates for a consultation on your case, at 502-895-2626.