Visitation schedules are important documents divorced and separated parents need to ensure fair visitation for everyone. It is essential that a visitation schedule is effective so the child can have continuing contact and strong relationships with both parents.
- The age and maturity of your child;
- How your child adapts to new environments and change;
- Your child’s physical, emotional and social needs;
- Relationships your child has with any siblings and extended family members;
- Each parent’s relationship with your child;
- Each parent’s ability to provide care for your child;
- The distance between the parents’ residences;
- Where your child resides currently and how long he/she has lived there;
- Your child’s school and community schedules and environments;
- Each parent’s work and social schedules; and
- Each parent’s past care giving roles.
All of the above factors will influence your visitation schedule so you need to consider all of them. After you have considered those factors, you can begin creating your schedule for visitation.
Your successful child visitation schedule should include:
- A regular schedule – This is an everyday schedule made for your child. It should include everyday living information.
- A holiday schedule – This is a schedule that includes all holidays your child celebrates. It should include how each holiday is divided between parents. This schedule takes precedence over the regular schedule.
- A vacation schedule – This is a schedule that shows your child’s vacation times, school breaks and other special events. If possible, you should include itineraries for vacations. This schedule also takes precedence over the regular schedule.
- Schedule provisions – To make your schedule most effective and beneficial for your child, you should include extra provisions and guidelines. Provisions such as right of first refusal, how transportation and exchanges are handled and how communication between parents happens should all be included.
It is important to keep track of your actual visitation time so you can decide if changes need to be made or if it works really well. Both parents should keep a journal of visitation time so both parents know that it is as effective as it should be.
You can create a successful visitation schedule considering the above factors and using the above guidelines. As much as possible, work with the other parent on your schedule to make it in the best interests of your child.