Don’t make the schedule around specific school dates. School schedules change and, as a result, your visitation schedule may not play out as you originally planned. For example, if the intention is for father to have the majority of the summer, don’t state, “Father’s summer visitation will start on June 1st and end on August 1st” simply because that works for this years’ school schedule. Instead, state that father shall have the children for the entire summer break, with the exception of the first and last week of summer break, during which time the children will be with mother.
Make age appropriate schedules. Children’s needs and schedules vary based upon their age. Make sure the terms you include in your child custody stipulation are age appropriate for the child. For example, a court order that states that the noncustodial parent shall have 30 minutes of virtual visitation every day is unrealistic for a young child. While that may work for a child who is 12 years or older, a young child will usually have difficulty sitting still for 30 uninterrupted minutes.
Don’t allow a child to dictate the schedule. Leaving the visitation schedule up to a child diminishes a parents’ ability to make decisions that are in the child’s best interest. A child should not be placed in a situation where he/she has to choose which parent to visit. The parents should work together to prepare a schedule that everyone follows. This will also show the child that the parents are working together.
Define the holiday schedule. Identifying the hours for your visitation schedule will help eliminate any possibility for disagreements, and holidays should be no exception. Without specific times for a holiday visit, each parent may interpret the duration of the visit differently. For example, if one parent has New Years’ Eve with no set time for the conclusion of the holiday, the other parent could argue that the visit ends at midnight on December 31st. That would obviously be an impractical time to exchange a child. Thus, identifying that New Years’ Eve visitation is from 10:00 a.m. on New Years’ Eve until 10:00 a.m. on New Years’ Day, will eliminate any confusion.
Include notification provisions. Defining the actual custody and visitation schedule is the essential part of a child custody agreement. However, don’t forget about other important provisions to include. For example, identify the amount of advance notice for vacations with the children, changes to the visitation schedule, and notifying the other parent of a potential residential move.
If you have questions about a child custody and visitation matter, contact a San Diego Family Law Attorney at Boros Law Firm, APC.