Avoid Non-Workable Child Visitation Plans When Negotiating a California Uncontested Divorce
This is the next post in my series discussing issues that should be considered prior to negotiating an uncontested California divorce. My last post discussed why it is important to have a plan regarding your health insurance following a divorce. In this post I will be discussing how many parents make the mistake of creating child visitation plans are not specific enough and how this often leads to additional hearings in San Diego Family Courts.
Many San Diego residents make the mistake of entering into child visitation plans which are not specific enough
A San Diego uncontested divorce will require one to enter into a plan for child visitation and custody. A problem is that many enter into plans which are not specific enough and problems inevitably occur. One or both parents often want to be flexible when negotiating the divorce. This leads to them glossing over important considerations, such as important dates and times. For example, a visitation schedule may say that a father has visitation on Sundays for four hours. But without specifying what time the father is to pick the child up and dropped off, problems arise. The mother and child are not able to adequately plan for the father’s arrival and may end up waiting half the day for the father if they expected him in the morning and he does not show up until evening time. Not clarifying expectations early in the process only sets up both parents for communication problems later on.
A second problem that often occurs is that parents may make a vague plan for holidays without really thinking them through. For example, if your plan states that you will alternate holidays, but know that extended family expects you to travel to see them every Christmas, that plan may not work. When planning out holiday scheduling it is important to consider what holidays are truly important to you. You need to consider whether there are certain traditions you do not want your children to miss and whether it is possible to permanently trade one holiday for another. If either of the parents have family outside of the city they currently reside in then it is also important to consider any realistic travel plans either parent may wish to make during the holidays. Flushing out realistic holiday obstacles in advance will save both parents a high level of aggravation later down the road.
Not settling on a detailed child visitation plan can be costly and stressful later
When a couple does not negotiate a detailed visitation settlement then the results can be costly. When one parent inevitably gets upset that the visiting parent is always late, changes plans last minute, or keeps the child outside of verbally agreed upon times, then they must go back to Court to take action. This requires more calls to the lawyer, a hearing to be scheduled, a Court appearance, and more. Going back to Court will both impede on your time and will be stressful for your children. Couples often are tired of fighting when they are negotiating their divorce settlement. They may agree to a hazy plan in order to wrap-up the process and move on. But if you have to return to Court later then you will have to experience further stress and will not be able to peacefully continue with your life. The best solution for everyone is for very clear boundaries and expectations to be fully mapped out in the child visitation plan. When an order is in place then both parents are expected to comply, leaving little room for interpretation.