Visitation Rights - Advice for the Custodial Parent
Visitation rights belong to the non-custodial parent (i.e., the person NOT having physical custody). Here is advice for the custodial parent (i.e., the person that DOES have physical custody).
The Purpose of Visitation.The purpose of visitation is not just to placate the non-custodial parent. The purpose for visitation is for the child to continue and/or develop and/or maintain a close relationship with the other parent. Yes, the other parent needs to spend time with the children. However, it is more important that the children spend time with the other parent. Children raised by two parents are more grounded and develop better as adults than children raised by one parent.
Do NOT Interfere with VisitationOne great way of getting the Courts angry at you is to interfere with the other parent's visitation. The visitation belongs not just to the other parent, but also to the child. Creating conflicts or interfering with the other's visitation can easily be proved in Court and will be addressed harshly. The Courts do NOT tolerate this type of behavior
Encourage the VisitationEncourage the visitation. Try to express "excitement" to the children that they are going to visit the other parent. The custodial parent always sets the initial tone for the child for their visitation with the other parent.
When conflicts arise that necessitate changing weekends or switching holidays, work with the other parent. This not only allows your children to see that you and the other parent are working together, but it also reinforces to the child how important visitation with the other parent is. Additionally, you working with the other parent tends to tremendously cut down on conflict in the future that could otherwise lead you going back into court.
Give Yourself a BreakVisitation also provides you, the custodial parent, with breaks where you can get things done on weekends without shuttling the kids everywhere. It also gives you a break for rest and to pursue things that you ordinarily would not be able to do when the kids are present.
I know this sounds "selfish". However, you can't be all that is required for you to be if you don't have an opportunity to recharge, rest, and pursue your hobbies or other interests. Look at it as doing things for yourself so you are better able to do things for your children.
Tell Them They are Loved by Both ParentsSometimes children get the wrong idea about having divorced parents and how they are loved. Don't let this happen. As the custodial parent, it should be your obligation to remind them how much they are loved by both you and the non-custodial parent. Don't allow your children to believe that one parent doesn't live with them because of their feelings (or lack of feelings) that they have for the children. Children have enough problems. Living in a home without both their mother and father should NOT be one of them. Love them, and tell them that their other parent loves them just as much.