Most parents in Virginia understand that their divorce can be difficult on their child. Their child may wonder if the divorce was his or her fault, or he or she may be concerned about having to live with each parent separately at different times. Parents can do a lot to ease the transition for their child. This includes developing a fair and workable time-sharing schedule that meets the best interests of the child.
For example, when it comes to developing a time-sharing schedule, each parent should have the child for overnights in his or her home, absent abuse or other unusual circumstances. Parents must stay in communication with one another, despite the divorce, as they work together to raise their child. This means adhering to the time-sharing schedule, notifying the other parent if an existing time-sharing schedule isn't working and seeking a modification in court if necessary.
Missed time with parents can confuse the child and ultimately may cause the child emotional harm. A modification to a time-sharing schedule may also be needed as the child grows. After all, a time-sharing schedule that worked when the child was a toddler may not work when the child is a teenager.
When seeking a modification to a time-sharing schedule, sometimes parents can negotiate matters out-of-court, reach a settlement and have that settlement approved by a judge. Other times, especially if they do not get along or one party contests the proposed modification, litigation is necessary. It is important to keep in mind that until the modification is approved or ordered by the court, the current time-sharing schedule still stands, and parents must still follow it absent unusual circumstances or other reasons why a judge might issue a temporary order while the modification is pending.
Most parents, despite any animosity they have between one another, understand that they need to act in a manner post-divorce that supports their child during a difficult time of transition. Developing a workable time-sharing schedule is important as is adhering to the schedule and modifying it when appropriate. However, to ensure your rights as a parent are protected and decisions are made that are in the child's best interests, it can help to seek legal guidance as you navigate these child custody matters. This not only helps to protect your rights as a parent but also the best interests of the child as well.