One of the important parts of finalizing the divorce and child custody agreement is the schedule of visits. Naturally both of you want to spend as much time as possible with your child. This can be quite tricky if you are living very far apart from one another. And there’s always the debate on holidays—who gets to have the child on Christmas and Thanksgiving? Here are some things to consider while you work out those details.
A shared or split parenting arrangement gives parents equal visiting time. The two parties can agree to alternate every two weeks. Or in some cases one parent gets the child from Monday to Friday, while the other has weekends. But the latter also gets ‘ first pick’ on summer vacation and other long breaks to make up for having less time with the child during the rest of the year.
But before you start marking calendars and signing the
custody arrangement, consider these important factors.
First is convenience: the logistics must be feasible so that both parents can keep their word, because it can be heartbreaking for a child to expect that he will spend time with someone only to find out that he can’t make the long drive to pick him up for the weekend.
Also consider the personality of the child. Does he have a hard time adjusting to change? Some will find it unsettling to keep switching between households. (For this reason, no matter what custody arrangement you pick, you need to agree on common rules and routines to help with the transition and create a sense of stability.)
As for holidays, it’s easier to just assign holidays so your child can actually enjoy them instead of being shuttled around in a plane or car. Think of other ways for the other parent to be involved during that time: long distance calls, internet video calls, letters, or creating new pre-holiday rituals that will just be your own.
photo from greaterlearning.com
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