If you have triskaidekaphobia you probably did not relish 2015, nor will you be a big fan of 2026. Triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, makes some years more nightmarish than others, since every year will always have at least one Friday the 13th but only a few years (like 2015 and 2026) will have three of ‘em. Some people just have trouble scheduling themselves, so child visitation schedules can be a challenge. Please accept these pro-grade tips on getting exactly what you want out of your child visitation agreement.

Work Out Child Custody First

The child visitation schedule may be written into a property settlement agreement that forms the basis for your uncontested divorce. It will depend upon custody:

  1. Sole physical custody — The children reside with one parent and visit the other
  2. Shared physical custody — The children reside in equal time intervals with both parents
  3. Legal custody — Regardless of physical custody, one parent has the legal right to make decisions regarding medical, educational, and religious issues on behalf of minor children

If you have sole physical custody or share custody, you have less pressure to design the optimum child custody schedule for yourself — your kids will be with you most of, or half, the time.

If, however, your ex-wife has sole physical custody, you are the one whom the children will “visit,” and then return to their mother. Crafting the child visitation schedule begins with you, with what you would most like to do. The court may always have “the best interest of the child” in mind legally, but you have to continue a relationship with your children so that your time is focused on them, not on squeezing in minutes with work pressures bearing down on you.

Custody and visitation will repeat in a cycle, whether it is weekly, every month, or some other interval. Your ex-wife is obligated to work with you on the frequency and duration of visitation, so even if she has sole physical custody, she cannot decide by fiat that you get the kids one weekend a month that “coincidentally” is the weekend you have to work overtime every month.

Visitation during the Holidays

After you have laid down the basics of the custody visitation cycle, in which you get the kids every weekend, for example, you then have to look at holidays. Holidays, remember, can be more than just the sentimental favorites of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Thanksgiving.

Summer holidays, like Memorial Day and Independence Day, can be valuable time with your kids, too. Since both follow the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, you can almost always anticipate a three-day weekend, meaning you may have to take very little additional time from work if you want to take a nice four-day vacation with your kids.

Holidays require a bit of give and take. If you normally would be sending the kids back for the week, but it is the week of Thanksgiving, you and your ex-wife can negotiate alternating-year Thanksgivings. The same works for Christmas. While Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, Christmas moves through the days, so having a visitation schedule for more than a year at a time helps keep both households satisfied. Some divorcing couples make good use of five-year printed calendars. Sure, apps exist, but if both of you work with identical calendars, in which both of you initial every agreed-upon visitation holiday, neither of you feels cheated.

Don’t Forget Special Occasions

Virginia’s courts put great stock in keeping strong family relationships after divorce. You are encouraged to include your extended family in your children’s lives, which means you should consider locking in family reunions, vacations, known family events like weddings and anniversaries, and other special events. Decide what you value, and be willing to trade a weekend or two to have your children with you during those special moments.

Visitation for Your Child’s Birthday

By working with your ex-wife ahead of time, birthdays need not be battlefields. Both of you will want to have time with your birthday child, so frank and intelligent discussion can prevent coarse and unpleasant confrontations. Perhaps both of you can be at the same amusement park, campground, or museum, so little Dori has half her special day with Dad, half with Mom. Whatever you two decide, present a united front to little Dori and darling Dougie.

Don’t be an Uncle Dad!

We have spoken about “Uncle Dad” syndrome before. Your dream visitation schedule must be realistic; do not shower your kids with overpriced, unneeded “stuff” as a way to make up for the day-to-day emotional bonds you miss. Once you and your ex-wife design and implement the visitation schedule, avoid “surprise visits,” mysterious deliveries of toys or clothes, and manipulating your children with gifts their mother cannot afford.

This is actually not as selfless as it seems; you will create little monsters, who quickly tune in to the seemingly bottomless treasure trove they can bamboozle from you just by making you feel guilty over visitation.

Hire a Custody & Visitation Attorney

Your attorney can provide excellent guidance in crafting an ideal visitation schedule. Contact The Firm For Men today, or call us at 757-383-9184, to discuss visitation, custody, support and other child-related legal matters. Our office is located in the heart of Virginia Beach, just minutes from most of Hampton Roads!

child custody and visitation lawyer