After the attorneys have been retained, money has been spent, time away from work and family has been expended and a final order has been signed by both parties and the judge, a divorce is complete.
Whatever assets the parties had were divided up, their living arrangements have now come into clearer focus and everyone can start to live their new reality after the marriage relationship has been terminated.
Child Visitation After a Divorce Can Be Messy
This is especially true if there is a child of the marriage that must now divide their time between their parents’ homes.
Visitation is an issue that has a lot of baggage associated with it because it represents a concept that for many people, even divorced people, seems unnatural and extremely uncomfortable.
Creating a division (however equitable it attempts to be) of time for the child to see both parents based on a court’s order can not only feel unnatural but can also be a tough adjustment for a child to make, no matter their age.
Many books, papers, blog posts and other sources of information have been produced which detail how best to handle this transition- between the child having one home and then all of a sudden having two.
Do Not Try and Settle Scores at the Expense of Your Children
How can parents create an environment where the child can be comfortable and happy while simultaneously remaining civil and respectful towards a person they have just completed a lengthy legal case against?
For starters, the Houston divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would counsel any client about to find themselves in this position that it is time to put your interests on the back burner and concern yourself primarily with what your child needs to be loved and well adjusted.
While those clients are few and far between where the impression is that they are acting out of self-interest rather than love of their child, but those instances do occur in a divorce case.
People lose sight of what they are really trying to accomplish in a divorce and instead look at the divorce as a means to settle a score or right a wrong against their spouse.
Once the dust has settled, no matter the outcome, it is the child who has the biggest transition to make in dealing with the changes that their parents have created.
The Best Interest of the Child
Understanding that the child’s interests are paramount means coming to terms with the fact that the child now has two homes.
It isn’t about placing more importance on one home and less on another, it is about placing equal importance on the relationship of both parents with the child.
Enabling the child to feel connected to both parents after their world has been dramatically altered is especially important immediately after a divorce is finalized.
Depending on the age of the child, it may be prudent for parents to speak to their son or daughter individually and to provide them the same message about family, togetherness and just how important the child is to both parents.
Not only will this allow parents to reestablish the connectivity that is so essential to raising a child, but it will also show the child that even though their Mom and Dad don’t live together anymore they can still agree on issues related to them.
Do Not Use Your Child as a Messenger
Another potential stumbling block that I will counsel clients to avoid is using the child as a means of passing information back and forth from one parent to the other.
There is little reason to enlist young Johnny to pass a message from Dad to Mom or vice versa in today’s world when all of the following alternatives exist:
- text messaging
- online co-parenting websites and
- cell phones are prevalent
For one, it unnecessarily involves a child in an adult discussion- a discussion that may involve the child him or herself.
Allowing the child to retain a degree of naiveite in regard to their young life is typically a good thing- they have many years of adulthood in which they will be responsible for their own wellbeing. Why not allow the child an opportunity to be a kid?
Judges Hate when Children are Used as Intermediaries
Another reason why using the child as an intermediary is a bad idea is that if you ever had to appear before a judge again, for any reason, and that judge learns that the child was used in this way a person can rest assured that the judge will not be happy.
That’s not to say that a recently divorced person should base their decisions on the potential of what a judge may say, but when a person can do the right thing and avoid issues with the law down the road that’s a win-win scenario.
How to Co-Parent or Communicate?
Along with not using the child as a means to communicate with one another, recently divorced parents need to be able to communicate directly with each other on a regular basis. The term “co-parenting” may be overused but it is an important concept nonetheless.
Changes in schedules happen all the time and when those changes necessitate altering a visitation plan for the children then that is something to be discussed between the parents and not the child and the parents.
Communication skills require practice just like any other skill. Especially in a situation involving divorced parents, it is sensible to work on communicating respectfully with an ex-spouse so that they can begin to repair the whatever damage was done to their parenting-relationship during the divorce.
No two divorces are the same and no two divorced parents are the same which makes any source of guidance or advice potentially unhelpful for a wide range of people. However, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan believe that there are tips and helpful hints that suit most any parents who have recently gone through a divorce.
The bottom line is that acknowledging that visitation with both parents is a positive for the child is the first step towards easing the child and themselves into post-divorce life. If the parents can show respect for one another, the odds that the child will acclimate to his or her new living situation increase dramatically.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- How does summer visitation work?
- 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
- When Your Child's Extended Family Wants Visitation in Texas
- Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?
- Grandparent Visitation Rights in Texas?
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Visitation Modification
- Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
- Does my 18 year old child still have to go with their other parent on the weekend for court ordered visitation in Texas?
- Texas Parental Visitation - Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas - Part 1
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.