As a parent who does not have primary custody over your child, you need to be careful about how you deal with visitation. Your role in your child’s life may have changed, but you can still be involved in the ways allowed by your court orders.
As you adjust to your new situation, consider these tips for making it work:
- Understand your rights
One of the first things you should do is make sure you understand exactly what your rights and obligations are as a noncustodial parent. When are visitation times? Are they supervised? Are you able to talk with your child outside of those times? What decisions can you take part in? What does child support look like? Do you get updates from your ex about your child outside of visitation?
- Be consistent
Once you understand the expectations and your rights, exercise them consistently. Always pay your child support on time and document it. Show up for your visitations. Text your child to check in between visits. Ask for updates on medical visits and school records.
- Make the most of the time you get
Seek to make every visit with your child great. When you only get so many opportunities to be with your kid, you need to make sure they know you love them. Plan fun activities and facilitate meaningful conversations. Get to know them as they grow up and change. Always show up on time and be ready for a positive experience.
- Work with the other parent
Having a good relationship with your ex can be hugely beneficial to both you and your child. Not only does it ease tensions, but it can make them more likely to support you in future legal changes. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and paying child support on time. Have calm conversations about your child and always seek peaceful resolutions.
- Put your child first
Having both parents in a child’s life can be really important. In every decision you make, try to put your child’s best interest first. When you feel like picking a fight with your ex, think about how it will affect your kid. Make plans for visits that will keep your child safe and healthy. Look for ways to create smooth transitions for your child when moving between houses.
Not only will making the most of your situation help maintain a good relationship with your child and your ex, but it can also help set you up for more visitation and possibly even custody in the future.