During a divorce with children, the couple has the added task of working out custody, visitation, and child support. A good visitation schedule is one that works for both parents and outlines the time each parent will spend with their child. Both parents need to be open minded and cooperative, taking into account work schedules, bedtimes, holidays, weekends, and more. This can sometimes be difficult to do without an experienced Redwood City divorce attorney, who is familiar with things to include in your visitation schedule.
For example parents must decide who will provide childcare for their child during their allotted visitation time. Lots of couples will agree that the parent who’s time it is not, gets the first chance to take the child when the other parent cannot fulfill their allotted visitation time. If that parent cannot take their child either, then the parent whose visitation time it was originally, can arrange for a babysitter.
When thinking about what should be included in a visitation schedule, here are some items to consider:
A child may spend school nights at one parent’s house over the other simply because that parent lives closer to their school. However, most schools operate for 180 days a year. This leaves a lot of days to decide which parent will have the children when school is on vacation.
It’s important to plan for school vacations in your visitation schedule. It makes your child feel valued when they have ample time with both parents and school vacations are a great time for parents to spend quality time with their child. For example Dad can take off a few days from work during the beginning of the week while Mom takes time off later in the week. Then each parent can enjoy several days with their child doing something special like a beach day, a Disneyland day or just a fun staycation.
With good planning now to come up with a plan that has enough flexibility in the schedule for each parent to take advantage of the school vacation time, your child will enjoy lots of parenting time. Your lawyer will remind you not to forget all of those little days kids have off in throughout the year like Staff Training days. In your visitation schedule, you should decide who will have the kids on these days, too.
Knowing ahead of time who has the child which school breaks allows both parents to plan longer trips and special events. For example if you know you have your child the first three weeks of summer vacation, that is when you can plan to fly across country to see a Broadway show or attend a family reunion. If you know that the family reunion for Mom’s side of the family always takes place the same week during the summer break, that can be built into the schedule too.
As always an experienced attorney can help parents come up with a workable schedule now and help them legally update a schedule if in the future things change.
Don’t Forget Less Common Holidays
When you first thought about how to figure out a visitation schedule, you probably thought about the big holidays. Christmas and Thanksgiving are two holidays that many ex-spouses have already considered who gets the kids when during the divorce process. But what about the less popular holidays such as Labor Day, President’s Day, or Memorial day? There are also holidays like Halloween that you may both want to share or you’ll need to decide what to do when your weekend visit encompasses Father’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Your divorce attorney can help you to come up with solutions so that it doesn’t start a fight over what to do. Attorney Bayan can help you negotiate a plan for the holidays that is fair to both parties and includes the children getting to enjoy holidays with both parents. This can including alternating years, or splitting a holiday such as Easter with mom having the child in the morning and dad taking the child in the afternoon or evening for dinner with his folks. The schedule will be legally binding upon the divorce which helps eliminate confusion or arguments. Couples can refer to the agreement to remember who gets what holiday and when. any agreements are legally binding so that both parties abide by them. Later if you decide you need to make a change, your lawyer can help modify the agreement legally so that the new schedule replaces the old one and is still enforceable.
Plan for the Inevitable
Inevitably with children and parents busy schedules, there will be times when a day off from school wasn’t anticipated (think a weather related day off) or you or your co-parent has a work or social event they need to attend without their child. A good schedule will include language to help parents know what to do in these circumstances.
If something happens to one parent that impacts visitation time, such as an unexpected illness or hospitalization, then there needs to be some other plan in place. Guidance for these situations can be built into your visitation schedule. Your plan can include ways to recoup or make up time missed, choices of preferred family members to babysit, and if mom or dad get first right to have the child when the other parent cannot utilize their visitation time. Your divorce lawyer can help you think through any aspects of your visitation schedule that might be overlooked.
Schedule a Consultation With a Redwood City Divorce Lawyer
As a leading Redwood City divorce lawyer, Bradley Bayan brings his many years of experience and compassionate care to assist parents like you make a visitation agreement that encompasses schedules, holidays, and vacations as well as procedures for the unexpected. With a well-crafted visitation schedule in place, both parents can feel more secure knowing that they have made their children’s best interests a priority and made sure the child knows they are valued and wanted by both their parents. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and potential next steps.