After a divorce, visitation is critically important for maintaining a sense of connection with your child. Unfortunately, visitation time is often used as a tool to punish or harm one parent. This is a bad idea for many reasons, the most important of which is the negative effect it can have on the child.
Even if your relationship with your child’s other parent isn’t the best, you should always strive to make visitation as positive as you can for your child. Doing so will help your child grow into a happy, healthy, whole person.
The following are 5 ways you can make the most out of visitation time for you and your child:
#1: Be Flexible About the Visitation Schedule
While it is ideal for both parents to strictly follow the established visitation schedule, life doesn’t always allow for that. Sometimes things need to be moved to a later time or even a later day in the month. It does no good for anyone to create an argument if a regularly scheduled visitation needs to be postponed or even cancelled.
#2: Show Respect for Your Ex Infront of Your Child
Even if it may not seem like it affects your child, continuing a conflict with your ex impacts the child negatively. In the eyes of your child, it should appear that you and your ex are friends or, at the very least, on amicable terms. Your child doesn’t need to see the two of you fight, hear either of you talk badly about the other, or be used as a middle-man due to disagreements.
#3: Communicate with Your Ex
If you need to relay important information to your ex that concerns your child, don’t only tell the child and leave it up to them to bring the information to your former partner. The biggest reason to not do this is because children often get information mixed up or completely wrong. Another reason to keep an open line of communication with your ex is to stay involved with your child’s day-to-day life. For example, your child comes home from school with an academic award. If you are in contact with your ex, they might decide to take a picture of your child with the award and send it to you or have the child call you to tell you the big news.
#4: Don’t Keep Your Child from Your Ex
If you or the other parent only get to see your child for a short period of time each month, it’s important you don’t do anything to sabotage this time. Don’t manipulate your child into believing they shouldn’t see their other parent. Don’t lie about your child being ill or not wanting to see your ex. Don’t withhold any forms of communication between your child and your ex. You and your ex have an equal role in your child’s life and neither of you should get in the way of that.
#5: Don’t Overly Spoil Your Child
It’s perfectly natural to want to give your child gifts or take them out for ice cream and a movie. Visitation is your time with your child and you should be able to make the most of it, but at the same time you shouldn’t overdo it. While it may be tempting to try to get your child to view you as a buddy they can go to when they want something their other parent won’t give them, you are still their parent first and foremost. Your child will love you whether you buy them the latest flashy toy or you take them to the park for a nice picnic.
Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, L.L.C. Can Help
Our child visitation attorney can help you and your ex create a visitation schedule that works best for your individual lives. Attorney Hershkowitz has over 25 years of family law experience and will be your legal advocate for fair results.
Call our firm at (407) 753-4111 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.