It can be difficult to create a custody and visitation plan that everyone likes. However, when a child balks at spending time with a parent, it can make things even worse. Read on and learn how to manage a visitation plan so that all parties are happy.
Why Children Don't Want to Cooperate
Children can experience some unexpected emotions when it comes to divorce. Some are confused about why their parents are living apart and may want to blame one parent or the other for the situation. Other times, a child might overhear a parent disparaging the other parent and turn against them. It's vital that the visitation plan is fair to the parties even if the child does not agree with it. With that in mind, follow these tips so that the plan is workable and allows the non-custodial parent to spend time with the child.
- Get input from your child. If they are old enough to express their feelings, then they might want to be asked about the visitation situation. Let them know what is expected and ask them to help make a plan.
- Learn more from your child. Children may not always communicate the way adults do. When a child doesn't want to spend time with the other parent, it could be something simple. For example, the other parent might have forgotten to bring along a favorite bedtime animal for the night. Try to get to the bottom of the real reason why the child is reluctant to go with the other parent.
- Be patient with the child. In highly emotional situations like a visitation exchange, it's easy for parents to jump to conclusions and begin accusing each other of things. However, making a big deal out of this only makes things worse for the child, who might believe that they are the cause of the problem. Try to take things down a notch and sit down quietly with the child to find out what is going on.
- Make sure your child knows they can come to you with their concerns without fear of causing trouble. They may be unhappy at the other parent's house because they don't like the neighborhood, the new house, and more. It can take time for the child to adjust to the new surroundings.
When to be Alarmed
To protect your child from a dangerous situation, be sure to:
- Know where your child is spending time and who else will be there.
- If your child complains of being hurt, yelled at, left alone, and other problems, speak to your divorce lawyer right away.
- Don't rely on a child's word only, however, speak to your ex and others before you act to stop visitation. The judge won't change things without proof.
To find out more, speak to a family law attorney.