What Visitation Agreements Mean to Your Kids
In California, visitation is called parenting time. In a divorce or child custody matter, a document called a parenting plan contains orders regarding legal and physical custody of children, as well as parenting time. Although the parties can reach an agreement out of court, parenting plans must be in the best interests of the child. As part of the plan, it is important for the child’s well-being to have a visitation agreement in place.
Why Is a Visitation Agreement Important?
Separation and loss can have an emotional impact on a child. Visitation agreements can help mitigate these feelings. When parents are divorced or separated, children who spend enough time with each parent tend to be better adjusted than children who live and interact with one parent alone. Parenting time that is established as part of a parenting plan lets everyone know what to expect in terms of visitation and allows the child to maintain close relationships with both parents. Inconsistency in visitation schedules can be disruptive for children and impact their emotional well-being.
Is There a Downside to Visitation Agreements?
A child who alternates between parents and spends a substantial amount of time with each may feel lacking in a main home base. If the parents live in different school districts, it can cause problems during the school year. If the rules are different in one household than the other, a child transitioning between them may experience some difficulties. It is important to the child’s well-being for the parents to communicate about visitation, effectively, and without conflict.
How Can You Reduce Conflict with the Other Parent?
Your children will be affected by the way their parents communicate with each other. The following are some tips to help you reduce conflict and make communication more effective:
- Be polite when speaking with the other parent, just as you would be in a professional setting.
- Keep your focus on the best interests of your child.
- Stay on the subject at hand. Do not get sidetracked onto other matters.
- Be clear and specific. Put things in writing and keep records of your agreements and appointments.
- Talk to the other parent before changing any plans.
- Keep your promises concerning visitation. Your children need to know they can trust you and rely on your word.
- Do not discuss problems with visitation or custody when the children are around or if either parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Say “hello” and “goodbye” when you pick up or drop off children with the other parent.
- Try your best to work with the other parent for the good of your children.
How Can Flexibility and Adaptability in Visitation Agreements Benefit Children?
One thing we can be certain of in life is that nothing ever stays the same. Circumstances and situations can change, and parents need to be flexible and adaptable with visitation agreements for the sake of their children. For example, if one parent has to go out of town for work on a day when he or she normally has visitation, the other parent should be willing to adapt and switch days. If a family reunion on the mother’s side with relatives coming from out of state has been scheduled on a date when the father has visitation, flexibility on the father’s part gives the child an opportunity to spend time with visiting family members.
If you need help resolving visitation disagreements, contact Mattis Law, A.P.C. at (858) 328-4400. We have been helping our clients ensure their parental rights are secure since 2014. Our San Diego family law attorney can skillfully assist you in resolving conflicts regarding visitation while protecting the futures of you and your children.