Splitting time with your child with your ex-spouse or partner can be challenging. Many parents struggle with going from having their child around all the time to only part of the time.
Virginia courts typically order shared custody when it is in the best interests of the child. However, even if you have shared custody, as your child gets older and becomes involved in extracurricular activities, you might find yourself spending even less time with your child.
This is a difficult situation. While you should encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities because of the many benefits they provide, you also want to spend time with your child to maintain your parental bond with them.
Choosing the extracurricular activities
Perhaps you and your co-parent do not agree on what activities your child participates in. Your child may want to be involved in many activities that leave you with little to no time with them.
Talk with your co-parent and try to compromise. See if you can agree that your child do one or two activities this year and the other activities next year.
Be flexible. The terms of your custody order likely state that you must follow them if you cannot agree to other terms. You are generally free to alter your custody arrangement if circumstances change.
Custody exchanges and after-school custody
This is true with both major and minor items. Extracurricular activities are more likely to impact terms surrounding custody exchanges or weekday custody.
For example, your custody order might state that you get custody on Wednesdays from after school until 8 p.m. to allow you to have dinner with your child. But if your child plays a sport and is at practice until 6 p.m. you are essentially missing out on an entire period of custody.
If possible, rearrange your custody schedule so your after-school period falls on a day when your child is free after school.
Good communication and flexibility are essential. A petition to modify custody is an option when your co-parent does not support your relationship with your child.