Parenting time is about the children
Many courts across the country are shifting from using the term "visitation" and moving towards the use of "parenting time". Parenting time has been made the focus because it stresses the importance of "time" spent with the child as opposed to the idea of "visits" which do not infer the same parent-child relationship. Parenting time is often set according to a schedule that has been agreed upon through mediation or because of a court order.
Parenting time modifications
Modifications must be made often to existing parenting time schedules. The ease of making these parenting time modifications will depend on the parents' relationship with each other. If parents are reasonable with each other and act in the best interest of the child, these parenting time modifications are just a matter of planning. In cases where parents do not get along, modifications to parenting time can become very stressful issues. The important thing to remember is that you and the other parent will have many issues in life that could interfere with parenting time. The more accommodating you can be to each other the easier it will make both of your lives.
The use of online collaborative tools like the OurFamilyWizard® website can make parenting time modifications a breeze. Using the patented Trade/Swap request feature, it's easy to make requests for adjustments in parenting time and update the other family members about it. In addition, if you are in a contentious co-parenting relationship, you will be able to produce very clear records of what happened in regards to the parenting time modifications.
Children need consistent parenting time
Children thrive on consistency. Parents need to keep this in mind because the more predictable the parenting time can become, the better it is for the children. Children generally react poorly when normal parenting time is not occurring regularly. When parenting time is regularly missed, it can send the child a message that they are no longer a priority. If parenting time must be missed and make-up time needs to occur, it should occur as soon as possible. Parents should also make every effort to be punctual for their parenting time visits. It shows respect for the other parent and your child. If you are going to be delayed, make sure to keep the other parent or child in the loop.
Extra time with kids
From time to time, it may become advantageous for you to give up some of your parenting time to the other parent. For instance, if you had a work function you needed to attend in the evening, rather than hiring a babysitter to watch the kids, you could see if the other parent is interested in helping out with the kids. It won't always work out, but there may be some opportunity for the other parent to gain some quality parenting time with the kids and help you out at the same time.
Parenting time problems
Issues regarding parenting time generally fall into one of two categories:
1. Parenting Time Interference
Sometimes incidents will occur due to misunderstanding or miscommunication, however, in some cases, parents may try to limit or control the amount of parenting time. Using a parenting time software program like the OurFamilyWizard® website can help eliminate and/or document these attempts. If parenting time is regularly interfered with and mediation does not work, parents can enlist the help of local police to file a criminal complaint to help enforce the court's orders.
2. Non-exercise of Parenting Time
If parenting time is not being exercised by the other parent, you may want to contact them to find out why they haven't been making the agreed upon visits with the child. Using a parenting time tool like the OurFamilyWizard® website can help you keep track of missed parenting time to help avoid confusion over what really happened.
If you have parenting time issues, you should try and work it out with the other parent first. If this doesn't work, you may want to pursue mediation. However, if mediation is not an option, you may need to return to court. Parents can be found in contempt of court for not complying with the settled agreement or court order. If parents are using the OurFamilyWizard® website, these return trips to court over parenting time can be much easier by providing a clearer picture of what really happened in the family.