There is no doubt that divorce can be stressful for all parties involved, most notably for children.
With this in mind, it is important for you to talk to your children about visitation if you have gone through a divorce or you are thinking about one. It is not unusual, especially among teens, for a child to pick a “favorite parent” or one that they would like to visit with more than another.
Unless there are circumstances involving domestic violence, abuse or conflicts in safety, when favoritism occurs, you should try to avoid conflict with your child and/or former partner. Talk to your child and encourage him or her to attempt to open up to a relationship with the other parent. Remind the child that the other parent loves and cares for him or her.
If talking to your child does not alleviate issues, you should stand firm and remind him or her that he or she must spend time with the other parent. Keep in mind, this is a legal issue—alienating another parent could result in a change in the custody agreement and/or more time in court.
Remember, if a parent fails to live up to a child custody or visitation agreement and attempts to deprive the other parent of parenting time, the other parent could seek a contempt or enforcement order from a court. However, unless you have joint custody arrangement where there is more or less an equal sharing of time with the children and support is directly connected to custodial and parenting time, you cannot hold an ex-spouse in contempt for failing to exercise parenting time. Visitation is a right, not an obligation.
How Do I Modify or Seek a Change in Child Custody?
Following a divorce, compromise becomes a big part of parenting. Child custody remains one of the most emotional and complicated issues in family law, as both parents often have the best intentions when it comes to their children.
Fighting and conflict can result in turmoil when it comes to custody or visitation schedules. You should work with an attorney who can moderate a mutually beneficial arrangement between yourself and your ex, with your child’s best interests in mind.
Remember, you can always seek a post-divorce modification of child custody and visitation schedules if necessary. Changes in obligations at work or in your personal life could result in moves or scheduling problems with your current visitation agreement.
If you are thinking about a divorce or you want to seek a modification to a custody or visitation schedule, call us today.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. – Rockland County Divorce Attorneys
KGG’s Corner: Parents who encourage visitation with their ex are often doing so in the best interest of their child.