In this article, a skilled Houston divorce lawyer discusses some of the issues and difficulties inherent in developing a contact schedule for children after a divorce.
In developing a schedule for parental visits of children, the well-being of the children themselves must take precedence over all other considerations. Your Houston divorce lawyer recommends that you take into account the distance children may need to travel between each household, times at which each parent will be available and the demands placed on the child by the requirements of school and extracurricular activities. The schedule of parental visits should be regular and dependable and conflicting appointments should be rescheduled so as not to interfere with visitations. Children should be able to feel that there is nothing more important in their parents’ lives than they are.
In situations involving two or more children, your Houston divorce attorney advises that they each receive one-on-one time with their parents.
Time for Children to Adjust
The length of time that a child may have to spend in the home of one parent or the other will affect the time the child needs in order to adjust to the change. If the stays are for extended periods, the children may have to adjust to new teachers, new schools and so on. As this can often be difficult especially for very small children, your Houston divorce lawyer recommends that special consideration be given to allow children time to adapt to the differences between one household and the other.
Children who experience difficulties during preschool, during toilet training or who experience separation anxiety when apart from their normal caretaker may have special problems in making the adjustments between households. Your Houston divorce attorney may recommend that an alternative to equal timesharing be considered for these children.
Comfort vs. Conflict
For children to feel secure, the atmosphere surrounding them should be one of comfort and serenity. The presence of stress or residual anger in the household destroys any pleasure that the child might take in the visit. Activities, small joys and family traditions observed in each household help to preserve the child’s feeling of being part of a family. These are the things the children will take with them and hold onto for the rest of their lives. Your Houston divorce attorney suggests that you remember these little things and make them a part of each visit.
Your Houston divorce lawyer strongly advises, however, that arguing, fighting, name-calling and other such behaviors never become part of your child’s visit, as these are not the things that you want your children to carry with them. Child development experts and other professionals are available to assist you in making your children’s visits happy and comfortable.
If it becomes necessary for one parent or the other to relocate, you should advise your Houston divorce lawyer as soon as possible so that the effects of relocation on the children may be carefully evaluated. It is vital that both parents place the child’s welfare above all else, cooperate with each other and seek professional assistance if needed.
We Can Help
Your Houston divorce lawyer has the experience and expertise required to assist you as you face these issues. Contact Kay Polk Attorney at Law by calling (713) 234-6260 today.
Developing a Contact Schedule for Very Young Children
When it comes to developing a parenting plan and contact schedule for your children after your divorce, try to remember that their needs will change drastically as they develop and grow, and you will probably need to create several different plans to match the age of your children. A Houston divorce lawyer can help you decide how to handle these considerations depending on your children’s age.
Infants Up to 18 months
At this young age, contact with each parent should be kept short and frequent in order to keep them aware of both parents. Try to keep the environments and children’s bedrooms at each home very similar, including the colors of the walls and the fabric softeners and detergents used for their clothing. Babies need stability and consistency, and will not react well to unfamiliar faces taking care of them or disruptions in their environment. Both parents should strive to keep the baby’s schedule of naps, bedtime and bathtime close to one another. Feeding and type of formula should be kept the same.
Toddlers 18 Months to 3 years
In addition to the considerations given above for infants, toddlers at this age will begin toilet training. Use the same methods between each parent when training your toddler. Keep the same eating and bedtime schedule, and maintain a structure that your children will get used to.
If you have questions about the best way to handle a contact schedule in your divorce, talk to a Houston divorce attorney. Call Kay Polk, Attorney at Law at (713) 234-6260.
How to Handle Contacting Children After a Divorce
Clients of a Houston divorce lawyer frequently ask about guidelines regarding contacting children after a divorce.
Don't Use Contact to Spy on the Former Spouse
When contacting children after a divorce, it should not be utilized as an opportunity to check up on the former spouse. Children are often caught in the middle of the divorce even after it is completed, and they will do whatever is asked of them to placate the parents. Some parents will use that for spying. It is a bad idea. Parents should respect one another's privacy.
Problems the Children Might Suffer Must Be Addressed
When there is contact between the parents and children, there might be issues that must be worked through. The parents must help the children.
When it comes to making decisions regarding the children, both parents should work hard to be united. Parents undermining one another is a recipe of failure.
Common sense should never be underestimated. Parents should think about how they want to be treated by the former spouse and how they would like the children to be handled, and act accordingly.
Think About the Children's Future
With children, their future is contingent on proper physical and emotional development. As long as there are as few complications as possible and the contact is positive, the children will know that both parents care for them and have their best interests in mind.
A little courtesy goes a long way when picking up and returning the children. Make sure that it is convenient for both parties and seems natural. Some parents like to meet at designated places like a shopping center. It might help the child to cope by making the exchange into a memorable experience by purchasing a small toy or to go somewhere he or she enjoys.
Contact an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about how to handle contact between divorced parents when dealing with children, call Kay Polk Attorney at Law at (713) 234-6260 today.