Divorce for couples in Virginia, divorce is a major life event that puts everything on hold, from everyday life to future plans. Where there are children involved, though, things can get even more complicated, especially for the non-custodial parent. Every situation is different and may involve the added complications of changing work schedules or extended commutes across town, which can make visitation schedules more challenging.
But working out an agreement for parenting time should be a priority for parents who wish to maintain a presence in their child’s life as they grow. To make this happen, good when negotiating for a fair and consistent visitation schedule.
What will a non-custodial visitation schedule look like?
There must be a high level of consistency in any parenting plan to provide stability, especially for young children. Having routines is important, and when parents make a schedule, they need to stick to it. But parents must also be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes, and good communication is key to this.
This is what a common non-custodial visitation schedule might look like:
- overnights every other weekend, with one mid-week overnight per week
- special occasions like birthdays and some holidays
- an extended visitation in the summer of two to six weeks
The visitation schedule should reflect not just the parents’ schedules, but also the children’s needs. One parent’s conflict or distance from the home may make a midweek overnighter difficult. As an alternative, it might be better to have an extended weekend.
What is in the best interest of the child?
What is in the best interests of the child should be the priority in all custody and visitation arrangements. Sticking to a predictable schedule will provide security and a sense of safety to the children. Plans may change, so it may be necessary to make a revision to the schedule. Above all, keeping communication open and being willing to negotiate changes will best serve the children’s needs.
Virginia recognizes sole or joint legal custody, which give one or both parents the authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child, and physical custody, which involves the physical care of the child and custodial responsibilities and visitation rights of the parents.