What is the best way to set up a child custody and visitation schedule? What are the options for visitation times? What are the important elements of a visitation arrangement? A newly divorced parent faces these questions and hundreds more like them. It can be overwhelming and frustrating even in the best circumstances–and usually the circumstances surrounding custody aren’t the best. However, the good news is that it is possible to create a child custody schedule that works for your situation. The real key to doing this is finding the right resources to help you create it. Here are some of the resources that can help you.
Many divorced parents hire an attorney to help them create their visitation agreement and schedule. Attorneys are useful because they know the laws and have a lot of experience handling custody cases. However, attorneys are also very expensive and many parents simply do not have the money to hire one. You can look into receiving aid from the court if you can’t afford an attorney, and some attorneys offer advice at certain times for less money. You can usually have an initial consultation with an attorney to find out if you would want to hire him/her.
Another resource you can look into is mediation. Some courts offer free mediation and you can also find private custody mediation. In mediation you and the child’s other parent will sit down and create a visitation schedule with a neutral third party. This can help you work out some of the issues with your situation. Parents who are not getting along generally find mediation to be helpful.
There are also many software programs that you can purchase that can help you create a custody agreement and schedule. Many times these programs allow you to create a calendar with both parent’s time with the child. This can make it very easy to create a schedule on your own, and then you just print out the calendar. Be sure to shop around for the right software program for you. Make sure that it allows you to easily create a schedule and do other things to enhance your custody agreement. It might be useful to download a free trial of a program before you purchase it–that way you know it will do what you want.
The internet is a common, easily accessible resource. You can look up information about laws in your state, get the custody forms and papers that you need (this is only offered in some states) and you can look for online forums where you can ask questions and discuss issues with other divorced parents. There are also many local support groups about custody and visitation that may be beneficial to you. Ask around at your community center, public library and at the courthouse.
Using these resources can help you make the agreement that is best for you. It can also take away some of the stress to know that there is help available, and to know where to access that help. Keep searching until you get what you need. It will pay off in the end when you have the perfect custody schedule.