Shared parenting agreements are primarily designed to be in the best interest of the child or children. The needs and abilities of the parents come after that. So when it comes to parenting time exchanges, you want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Family Law Attorney Alexandra Dietzgen shares some ways you can make your custody exchanges better for your child.
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How to Make Parenting Time Exchanges Better
One question we are often asked by our clients is how to make your parenting time exchanges as successful as possible for your child and you. Experienced attorneys on our Family Law Team try to emphasize that parenting time exchanges are 100% about the well-being of your child.
It can be tempting to bring up issues that you might have with your former spouse during these exchanges, but that is something we really discourage. Instead, it’s important for you to focus on making everything about your kiddo.
Be As Positive As You Can
When you bring your kid to their mom or dad’s house, you really want to work on being excited, building them up, and letting them know that spending time with their other parent is a very positive thing for them.
Try to make the transition from one household to the other as pleasant and seamless as possible.
You may consider bringing up their impending visit to the other parent’s house the day before. Be positive about the next visit with their other parent; ask your child if she’s excited to see their dad.
Talk About the Upcoming Visit
You may ask your child what fun activities she wants to do with dad that week. Of course, the level of this conversation will depend on the age of the child.
Ultimately, your goal is to foster a positive relationship with the other parent.
Remember just because you could not get along with your former spouse does not mean your child cannot have a good relationship with him.
Save Adult Matters for Later
If you have an issue you want to discuss with your child’s other parent, wait to do it until another time.
The courts prefer that you use the method of communication directed by the court, whether that’s through your attorneys, by email, over the phone, or in person.
Also, have these discussions out of earshot of the children.
Be On Time
Don’t keep the other person waiting. Think about how you would feel if you were the one waiting to have your child brought to you.
Sure, things happen. There’s traffic in Colorado. A meeting can run long.
Just be considerate. If you think you’re going to be late, let them know, keep them in the loop. In other words, communicate.
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule works in shared parenting cases just as it works in life. Treat the other parent as you would like him to treat you.
Think about how you would want to be treated if you were the parent on the other end. On days when your kids make the transition from your house to their other parent’s house, try to plan ahead.
If something still comes up again, try to communicate that as much as possible.
The Best Interest of Your Child
Remember, this is about your child.
Shared parenting time is designed to be in the best interest of the child. Going back and forth between households can difficult for everyone involved, but you can minimize problems.
This should be a positive experience for your child, an opportunity to spend time with their other parent.
It will make things easier in the long run to treat the other parent like you would want them to treat you.
Be patient. Adjusting to sharing your child takes time. Life will be different. Events will happen that will try your patience. One of the best things you can do for your child is to try to make the best of things for her sake.
There are Exceptions
If something comes up that you think could affect your parenting time or you think warrants a change, speak up.
If you believe you may need help enforcing the parenting plan, contact an attorney. Another example is if you think there needs to be a change in the way your child transitions from your house to their other parent’s house. These examples may involve a motion to modify to your parenting plan.
Robinson & Henry’s experienced family law attorneys can help you sort through any issues that you may have with your child’s parenting time exchanges or your parenting plan, in general.
Get Connected with a Family Law Attorney
Call 303-688-0944 to schedule a free case assessment. You can also click here to schedule the meeting online.