One of the most challenging aspects of life following a divorce or legal separation is establishing a steady and safe routine for your kids. This is why it’s so important to create a child custody calendar that both you and your ex-spouse can agree to at an early stage in the legal process.
Here are some co-parenting schedule tips for outlining a child visitation plan that is in the best interest of your children.
How Child Custody Schedules Work
The purpose of a child custody calendar is to establish a structured routine for which both parents get to spend time with a child during certain periods, including days, times, holidays, and vacations. Child visitation plans are often drawn up by the two parents, when possible, or perhaps finalized with the help of a mediator. Child visitation agreements vary by state, and a judge must generally approve the plan to ensure it is in the best interest of the child.
Basics of a Child Custody Calendar
A child visitation plan often begins with statements about where the child or children will primarily reside with one parent rather than the other. It also details whether the custodial parent is allowed to relocate to a new city or state with the children and the required timeframe of notifying the other parent about a decision to move. Following these details, the co-parenting schedule will go into the visitation arrangements for the non-custodial parent.
What to Include in a Child Visitation Schedule
It is generally best for a child custody calendar to be as specific as possible to eliminate gray areas and confusion between divorced parents. However, these arrangements should also allow for some flexibility in case of emergencies or changes in a child’s lifestyle as he or she gets older.
Holiday schedules should include visitation details for all holidays that your family celebrates and also school holidays when your children will be out of school. Depending on your family’s traditions, you may choose to keep the kids with one parent on the same holidays each year, or you may want to alternate holidays each year to give each parent the opportunity to celebrate with children. In your child custody schedule, also include details about how many vacation days are allowed for each parent to go on vacation with the children and perhaps even specify which season or month those vacations should take place.
It is also a smart idea to include visitation stipulations in your child visitation agreement, such as who will transport the children to and from the parents’ homes, how much notice parents must give to each other to make schedule changes, and how visitation-related communications between parents should be made.
Tips for a Successful Child Custody Calendar
Here are a few things to consider as you are drafting a child visitation calendar with your ex-spouse:
- Think about your kids’ activity schedules
- Understand your parenting strengths and weaknesses and also those of your ex-spouse
- Consider talking to your kids about their preferences and concerns
- Consider the logistics of transporting kids from one home to the other
- Don’t necessarily make convenience your top priority
- Don’t use a co-parenting schedule to get back at your ex-spouse
- Be flexible and open to change if a co-parenting schedule isn’t working well
- Always put the best interest of your kids first
Legal Help with Child Custody Matters in Brooklyn
To put your children first in the midst of or following a divorce, you need an experienced and compassionate child custody attorney who is well-versed in the relevant laws and willing to walk you through the process. Theodore Alatsas, Esq. has worked with many families like yours in Brooklyn to address child visitation matters and create co-parenting schedules that both parties can agree to and live with.
We encourage you to contact us in our Avenue U office for a free consultation and to ask us any questions you have about child visitation and custody rights.