Parental visitation should be a time of enjoyment between parent and child. In many cases, however, emotions, bitterness, and other problems tied into the domestic case still loom over both parents. A father or mother who once saw their child any time now has rules and schedules to follow. Meanwhile, the party with custody will still have to see the visiting parent at pick-ups, drop-offs, and other events. Whether you have custody or visitation, these are some tips for how to make the most of this new arrangement.
1. Leave the court case where it belongs: in court
Visitation is no time for either parent to dig up the past or resolve major present difficulties. If you’re a parent with visitation, the time with your child will likely be limited or perhaps even restricted. You have a schedule which gives you only so many days of the week or holidays to see your child. There’s no sense in wasting this precious time with arguments that are better left to a Greenville, SC courtroom.
In fact, getting into an argument with the other parent will likely backfire. You can expect to hear from that parent’s lawyer if you fight, even if the other parent started it. Eventually, the judge may hear about it too. Don’t give the other parent ammunition to use against you in your domestic case. Stay calm, and if conflict arises try to defuse the situation as quickly as possible. If this is not possible, or if the other parent is intentionally interfering with your custody, contact your Greenville child custody attorney immediately.
2. Keep an eye out for problems (but bring them up later)
If you’re the visiting parent, be on the lookout for any problems when you exchange your child. When you show up at the custodial parent’s house, make a mental note of any unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Perhaps the custodial parent is consistently running late when you show up to get your child. This could be a problem worth raising to your Greenville child custody attorney. The same tip applies to the custodial parent. He or she should make note of any inappropriate behavior or condition on the part of the visiting parent.
In some cases there may be evidence of seriously harmful behavior such as drug use or violence. Obviously, if there’s an immediate threat to your child’s safety or well-being, alert authorities as appropriate. Also notify your Greenville child custody attorney.
3. Use your visitation time, and use it wisely
At some point in your case, you’ve told your lawyer or the judge how much time you want. You will have the chance be heard on this prior to being awarded visitation. You should also make it known how much time you can realistically handle. Many Greenville, SC parents complain that they haven’t been given enough time to see their children. However, not all parents use all of the time allocated to them. They may miss visitation or holiday events, show up late, and even cancel time with their kids.
It’s one thing to occasionally miss a visitation with your child. But if it becomes a habit, it could be used against you in a future custody modification hearing. It’s difficult to convince a judge to continue the amount of visitation you have if you’re not using it. Worse, you may not be using the time in a way that’s beneficial for your kids. The other parent could ask the judge to take away some of that time. Make the most of your time, and make sure you use all of it to the extent possible.
When to Involve Your Greenville Child Custody Attorney
When parents meet for visitation purposes, there’s almost certainly going to be some verbal communication. Sometimes, one parent may commit a relatively harmless slight like being a few minutes late to an exchange. Or the other parent could gently request you to make sure your child’s homework is being done. These are typically harmless interactions, not unlike those that could arise in in-tact families. In most cases they aren’t worth involving your attorney.
More serious issues should be brought to your lawyer’s attention. But be smart about how you handle issues when you see them. The attorneys at Greenville Family Law are experienced in all aspects of child custody. If you’re experiencing visitation problems, call today to set up a consultation with a Greenville child custody attorney.