If you and your spouse are getting a divorce and you have children, then the two of you will want to sit down and create a visitation schedule after determining what type of custody you will each have. It will help both of you outline how and when each of you will spend time with the children. While you’re setting out the initial schedule, it’s important to keep in mind that your children’s best interests are most important. View a sample visitation worksheet here.

Day-to-day schedule

You and your spouse will first have to determine what your child’s day-to-day schedule will be like. Which parent and on what days will your child spend time with on regular days (non-holidays)? Typical scenarios for visitation:

  • one parent has the kids 5 days a week, the other gets them for weekends
  • one parents has kids most of the time, other parent gets the kids every other weekend
  • one parent has kids most of the week, other parent gets kids one weeknight and weekends
  • parents split the week into 3 days with one parent and 4 days with the other

You and your spouse can come up with a customized schedule that fits with you and your children's needs.

Holidays

Once the normal schedule of visits/custody has been plotted, holidays, vacations, and other special events also have to be allocated to each parent. Try to share an equal number of bigger holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.), decide how many days each holiday is, and determine whether you want to share any of the holidays together. You can specify exact periods for vacations, or you can choose to leave them open-ended.

Extra provisions

You may also want to set out other details in the parenting plan along with visitation. Some related issues include: transportation to each parent’s residence, changes in schedule, etc. The more thorough you and your spouse are now, the fewer disagreements you’ll have in the future. Make sure to have an experienced attorney or mediator oversee the agreement to make sure you've covered all your bases.