Trust me when I say that custody and visitation cases almost always involve some stress, annoyances, and difficulties, no matter what terms you are on with your ex. Exchanging your child with the opposing party can be frustrating and maddening, however, this is one of those times that you need to put what is best for your child before what is easiest for you. We have come up with a few tips to help make the visitation exchange a little easier, on both you and your ex, and especially your children.
1. Always, always, always be on time. Nothing is as annoying as waiting on someone who is perpetually late. Your plans suffer and it’s really just plain rude. Just because the other party is always late doesn’t mean it’s ok for you to be late too. Plan ahead by looking at traffic patterns and allow yourself a buffer to be sure you get to the meeting point on time. If you can get to work every day on time, you can get to the exchange on time.
2. Don’t change the plans at the very last minute. If you agreed to meet the opposing party, be there. Unless there is a legitimate emergency, you don’t want to cause any unnecessary stress in an already stressful situation. But also remain flexible. If your ex is stuck in traffic and this isn’t a recurring theme, be gracious and take the high road.
3. Make sure your child is prepared for the visitation. Does your child have a special toy that he needs to have to get to sleep? Make sure you pack it! Does she need medication that she takes every day? Be sure it’s in packed! Soccer cleats for practice tomorrow? You get the idea. It’s already stressful for children to live in two different places and it’s even worse when taking toys to the other parent’s house is forbidden. Let your child take what will make him or her feel secure to make sure this situation is as comfortable and stable as possible for your child.
4. Don’t let your children become a “messenger.” This is so common in newly-separated, still-hurt clients. If you have something you need to say to your ex, say it when your children aren’t present and for goodness’ sake, do not use them to send a message to your ex. If you find it difficult to speak with your child’s parent, there are several tools out there to help ease this burden. We typically recommend Our Family Wizard to our clients to streamline communication issues between both parties. If you need any information about Our Family Wizard, contact us and we can give you a brochure.
Visitation issues are frustrating and this list is not all-inclusive. If you have any tips, feel free to share them with us! If you have found yourself in a challenging situation involving custody and visitation issues, give us a call and we would be happy to set you up with a meeting with one of our attorneys!