When a divorce occurs, deciding how to co-parent with your ex-spouse can be quite stressful. Even if you have a cordial relationship, setting up a child visitation might be a challenge, especially when you are the custodial parent. If your divorce is nearly finalized and you want to draft a visitation contract, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the document is legal, straightforward, and simple to follow.
1. Review State Guidelines
Many states have guidelines that they offer divorcing couples that may help you arrange a visitation schedule. While these details may vary depending on individual family circumstances and the ages of your children, the guidelines that are in place could help you streamline the process. You can find these details at your local county clerk’s office or on its website.
2. Meet with Your Ex to Review the Drafted Schedule
Once you retrieve the visitation guidelines, meet with your ex-spouse so you can review them together. If your relationship with him or her is not cordial, consider meeting with an arbitrator or meet at your attorney’s office. Having your lawyer present may be helpful for resolving disagreements related to the schedule, especially if you are the custodial parent.
3. Settle Specific Details
As you and your ex-spouse browse the pending visitation contract, it is wise to discuss details that are the most important to you both. For example, if you and your ex sold the family home and now live in separate states, arranging to send or take your children over state lines can be a priority because of local and federal laws. Bring a list of vital points to the meeting so you do not accidentally overlook anything that may cause issues later on.
4. Consider Holidays and Vacations
Before your visitation contract can be finalized, it is important that you consider times of the year when your children will not be in school. Work to divide Christmas, Thanksgiving, and summer vacation time equally with your ex and discuss whether long-distance travel will be involved when the children are with him or her. This can help prevent confusion later on.
5. Have the Schedule Approved By a Judge
Once you and your ex agree on the visitation schedule, it is wise to take it back to family court and have it approved by a judge. This makes the contract binding and gives you a solid foundation to refer back to if there are any future disagreements.
Co-parenting after a divorce can be difficult, but creating a visitation schedule can help you and your ex maintain a positive quality of life for your children. Call or go online today to find a divorce attorney and arrange an initial consultation.