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Getting a handle on a future visitation schedule

by | Mar 4, 2022 | Child Custody & Support

Divorce throws life plans off like no other event. It is an emotionally trying time not just for the parents, but especially for the children. Parents in North Carolina who have their children’s best interests in mind will want a custody arrangement that takes care of their emotional needs and supports their overall wellbeing.

No two situations are alike, but parents who wish to keep a connection to their children even if they do not have custody will want to reach a negotiated agreement on parenting time that reflects these goals. Having good communication with their ex also means resisting the temptation to bring up old hurts and resentments as both parties work toward creating a consistent and equitable visitation schedule.

Looking at a standard model visitation schedule

Consistency is key to a parenting plan that supports a child’s emotional stability, and routines are especially important for young children. This is why it is so important that parents maintain the schedule they have created and not keeping changing it. Events do happen, though, that can disrupt the best-laid plans. When this happens, both parents should try to keep communication open and have the flexibility to make a change when necessary.

A standard non-custodial visitation schedule will look like the following:

  • Every other weekend overnight visits.
  • Weekly overnights during the week.
  • An extended visitation of two to six week, often during the summer.
  • Negotiated holidays and birthdays.

Although the non-custodial parent may have scheduling challenges that require adjustments to this typical arrangement, it should not come at the expense of the child’s needs. For example, if they cannot consistency commit to the weekly overnighter, an extended weekend might be a good substitute. But these changes should prioritize the child’s needs.

The best interest of the child in North Carolina

Doing what is right for the child is not just a priority for the parents, it is also mandated by state law. In North Carolina, the court will determine the best custodial and visitation arrangement based on several factors:

  • The child’s overall safety and current living arrangement.
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child or create a stable home environment.
  • History of domestic violence

Some other factors that may influence a judge’s court order will include the child’s preference, if of age, as well as the distance the parents will live from each other.