When getting a divorce where children are involved it is extremely important to have a custody agreement that is best for the child. Whether you decide to have shared custody or one parent has primary custody and the other visitation rights, a consistency should be maintained. When making your custody and visitation proposal, here are a few points that you should consider:
- Time spent with each parent: It is not always possible or even realistic for children to spend the exact amount of time with each parent every week. The schedule needs to be planned carefully so that both parents get sufficient quality time with the kids while not disrupting the regular school and extracurricular activity schedule. Drops and pickups should be considered while making the schedule. If the schedule causes one parent to get a little more time with the kids it would help immensely if the other parent let it go without holding a grudge. The best interest of the children needs to be the priority.
- School breaks and vacations: When children are on a school break their schedules can be adjusted so that time away from school is shared between both parents. An understanding needs to be made that if one parent is taking the kids on a vacation the other parent needs to be informed a few days or weeks in advance. The visitation time lost during the vacation should be adjusted either before or after the vacation. Plans can also be drawn up where each parent takes turns to take the children on holiday.
- Birthdays and other occasions: As far as possible parents should try and work things out so that they are both present for birthdays, sports events, graduations and so on. It is important for children to have both parents be part of their big moments so parents should try and bury their differences and be civil to each other when being there for their children. There should also be guidelines in place for what needs to be done if a child or parent is ill and the schedule gets disrupted.
- Legal requirements: The different states in the US have their own set of requirements for visitation proposals. You will need to consult with your lawyer to make sure that you are meeting all the criteria so that your proposal gets accepted by the authorities.
In California, a preference is given to shared custody and if one parent wants full custody they need to present a good case of how it benefits the children. The courts also require the full schedule of how the children’s time is divided between school, home and each parent before they approve the visitation proposal.