Creating and maintaining parenting time, also known as a visitation schedule, can be difficult. Young children may not understand the process at first, and no matter their age, children need time to adjust to a major change. If both parents are not as willing to cooperate and maintain the allocation of parental responsibilities, it can cause stress that negatively influences the children.
However, there are several steps parents can take to smooth out the change and maintain a beneficial custody situation.
Stay Positive With Your Children
First and foremost, parents need to stay positive with their children regarding the situation. Whether the change is due to a divorce or unmarried parents have created a formal arrangement, children may not understand what is happening or why there are rules to follow. Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to encouraging the children to do the same—even when another parent is not doing the same.
Work Out Holidays & Special Occasions in Advance
Despite having a specific weekly or monthly custody schedule, special weekends, holidays, and other occasions need to be worked out. In general, major holidays will already be accounted for in court ordered parenting responsibilities, but smaller holidays, family members’ birthdays, and school vacations might have been overlooked. Pull out your calendar and sit down with the other parent to work these out well in advance to avoid disagreements or resentment.
No matter how the other parent behaves, you should stick to the schedule. Not only is this the best thing to do for your children, it will look favorable on you if you have to head back to court. Be sure to pick up and drop off your children at the agreed upon time and place. Do not change the agreement without notice unless it is an emergency.
Enforcing Parental Responsibilities and Time
If one parent is not upholding a court-ordered schedule, the other parent can return to court with the help of their family law attorney to force the other parent to come to court and explain why they are not complying. If the judge finds the other parent is not maintaining the order, they may modify the schedule, order supervised visitation, or order counseling or mediation. The judge might also find the parent in contempt of court, which might come with a fine, jail time, or required counseling. Jail can be avoided by the parent following the parenting time order.
Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney
Maintaining a parental responsibility and parenting time schedule can be difficult on the whole family. It can be tough to share major holidays, not always having your kids on Christmas. It can be frustrating to have to take your kids to their other parent’s house at the end of the weekend. But maintaining the schedule and a positive attitude is the best way forward with the children.
However, if you cannot maintain the schedule with your positivity alone, contact the dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at our law firm at 630-665-7676 or use the online contact form. We will provide you with professional representation throughout each step of your case.