How do you Reduce Stress in your Visitation Schedule?
If you have children, your divorce or custody agreement will layout a parenting plan in some form. Some families have a “reasonable and flexible” framework and the parents are able to work together to facilitate a visitation schedule that works for all. However, other families need a routine spelled out to avoid constant battles. Regardless of the outline that your parenting plan provides, there are inevitably instances where “life happens” and the parenting plan needs to be adjusted to accommodate one of the parents, or even the children.
In many instances, parents can easily work together and agree on a workable solution. But what happens when you can’t? Obviously, you cannot go back to court every time someone gets stuck in traffic, or a surprise baseball practice is scheduled. The best thing to do is to try to co-parent together and continue to keep your children’s best interests in mind. Here are some tips to:
REDUCE STRESS IN YOUR VISITATION SCHEDULE
- Early, often and in writing. As soon as you know about a scheduling change, tell your co-parent. This can help alleviate “exchange time” stress and give both parties time to reach a workable solution.
- Propose a solution. If you are the one who needs an accommodation, propose a solution. If you simply go to your co-parent asking for a solution, he or she may be less likely to cooperate.
- Remember that this is an adult conversation. Your children do not need to be a part of schedule change discussions. They should never be used as a “go-between,” nor should they be present during these discussions.
- Minimize schedule changes whenever possible. Sometimes a change in situation is completely outside of our control. That will happen. However, if you are constantly trying to change the schedule, it is inevitable that your co-parent is going to get frustrated, and will likely be less inclined to accommodate you.
- Timing is key. If at all possible, speak with your co-parent about schedule changes outside of your pick-up/drop-off exchanges. This will ensure that the children are not a part of the discussion, and you will likely also alleviate frustration if neither parent is presently focusing on logistics or another concern.
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