Once called child custody, the state of Florida now uses the term time sharing to describe the time a minor child spends with each parent after divorce or separation. Time sharing is hard for both the parents and the children. The best thing you can do as the parent is to make the time sharing as simple and stress free as possible for your kids. As family law attorneys, we have helped many families simplify their time sharing schedules to reduce stress on the children and provide more stability. Here are some ideas you may want to consider as you and the other parent draw up your time sharing schedule.
Choose Neutral Exchange Locations
If your children are in school, one of the easiest ways to transition them to the other parent’s home is to pick them up from school. This way the child does not look at it as choosing one parent over the other, they simply go to school from one parent’s home and go home to another. If school or aftercare is not an option for the exchange, consider a park, play place, or other location where the child is distracted from the switch.
Avoid Discussing Issues in Front of the Kids
When you have no choice but to make the exchange in person, do not discuss who owes whom money, extra time, or schedule modifications in front of the kids. Also try to avoid discussing disciplinary issues or anything else negative that can be addressed in a text or phone call. Many children find the time when the parents are together difficult. The more prolonged or heated an exchange, the more it can affect the kids.
Make Adjustments in the Best Interests of Your Children
This may mean giving up a few days throughout the year. Or, it may mean working with your family law attorneys to modify the schedule every few years. Children grow and needs, as well as interests, change. As they get older, you will need to modify your parenting plan. Sometimes those changes need to be permanent and other times you need to be flexible. For example, try not to deny your child’s request to go to a birthday party because it is your weekend and the party is for your in-laws with whom you no longer have a good relationship unless there is a valid reason. Listen to your children and their wants and needs, and they will be happier overall.
Whether you have hired us as your family law attorneys for your divorce or modification of a time-sharing agreement, we want to stress that you need to put the best interests of the child first. That may mean setting aside anger or dislike of their other parent for the kids you love. The team at Wagstaff Law Office is here to help with time sharing modification and all the other changes that go along with child custody issues. Call us today at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment to talk about your needs.