Ideally, divorced parents who share joint custody of their children would set aside their differences and agree on visitation hours that are in the best interests of their children. Unfortunately, and as we all are well aware, we do not live an ideal world.
In situations where parents have trouble agreeing on the specifics of a schedule, they should work with a knowledgeable attorney or a mediator to help formulate an official visitation schedule that includes the following:
- A residential schedule that lays out the time the children spend with each parent. If the parents share joint custody, the children spend a relatively equal amount of time with each parent. If the parents are separated geographically, but enjoy joint custody, the visitation schedule will probably be devised to try and compensate by allowing the children to stay with the non-custodial parent during holidays and summer vacations.
- Rules should be defined that clarify daily exchanges and help parents with the logistics of these daily exchanges. These rules should lay out guidelines for dropping off and picking up children; times and places for out-of-home meals; how parents should handle emergencies; and how parents should go about making minor modifications to the schedule.
Formulating a visitation schedule is an excellent way to guarantee regular contact with your children and keep a high level of regularity and stability in your children’s lives.