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Plantation Family Law Blog

What should my son and I do during child custody visits?

It's hard to imagine not living with your son or daughter. However, if you're the noncustodial parent following a divorce, then you will only be given visitation with your child. This means you'll probably get to spend every other weekend with your son, or perhaps only a single day per week.

Newly single parents with visitation rights always want to make the most of the time they have with their kids. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to come up with ideas. Here is an excellent list of potential activities that you can do with your son:

  • Get out the playing cards or play a fun board game together. This is an excellent way to spend quality time with a child.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle. It might seem boring to sit around a table and do a puzzle, but once you get out the pieces you may be surprised just how much fun it is. Many interesting conversations can spring up between you and your son while searching for the right piece.
  • Put a model together. Young kids love putting together all kinds of models. Take your child to the local hobby shop and let him pick out a fun model that you can spend the day putting together.
  • Buy a kite and go to the park. There's nothing more fun than watching your child's imagination soar while he's holding onto the string of a kite.
  • Go to the beach. The beach is a relaxing and fun day environment for everyone. There's plenty of opportunity for fun times building sandcastles, jumping in the waves and learning about sea life.

Can I protect our child from knowing ugly divorce details?

Divorce is not always pretty. You might be completely in favor of settling and resolving issues peacefully and fairly. However, if the other spouse adopts a contentious -- or downright spiteful -- position, you may have no choice but to engage in a divorce battle in court to protect your rights.

If you're in the throes of a difficult divorce, you could be worried about your child later growing up to see the divorce pleadings and other information related to the proceedings. Some of the information revealed could be damaging to your child's self-esteem and/or to you and the other parent's loving relationship with your child.

Parental challenges when navigating a divorce

It's hard to be a parent. You need to be a psychologist, a disciplinarian, a worker earning a living, a cook, a housekeeper and a nanny all in one. When faced with the added complexity of going through a divorce and needing to assume all parenting responsibilities by yourself, the challenges of parenting can become overwhelming fast.

During your divorce process, you'll likely go through a lot of different emotions from anger to sadness and from happiness to depression. As a result of this emotional roller coaster ride, your children will be sensitive to every change in your psychological state. Parents will be tasked with minimizing their external expression of intense emotions to avoid burdening their children with these feelings.

Activity ideas for visits with your child

Whether you're a mom or a dad, if you're the noncustodial parent, you will want to make the most of your visitation time with your kids. However, you could be drawing a blank on the types of activities to enjoy with your child.

Look no further than this article, which could provide you with some excellent tips to make the most out of your visitation time. Take a look at the following ideas. Do you think you and your child would enjoy any of these activities?

Supervised visitation: How it helps

Sometimes a mother or father falls into trouble with the law. Perhaps he or she has violent tendencies, suffers from a drug problem or has been convicted of domestic abuse or sexual violence. In these cases, a Florida court will likely choose to award full custody to the parent with a better legal standing. However, courts may still want to give children a chance to spend time with the noncustodial parent -- even if he or she has been convicted of serious crimes.

In cases where the noncustodial parent poses a risk or danger to the child, Florida courts will likely demand that child visits be supervised. Supervised visits are an excellent way for children to safely spend time with and benefit from a relationship with, a parent who is viewed by the court as potentially dangerous. Supervised visits like this can be of great psychological benefit to both the parent and the child.

New research shows that shared child custody is best

When two parents divorce, they can choose a lot of different strategies when it comes to sharing custody of their children. However, one thing -- according to psychologists -- will help the children have a happy and healthy future: The ability of children to spend regular time with both parents.

The fact that children benefit so much from seeing both their parents on a regular basis is why modern family court judges will do everything they can to ensure continued contact between the children and both parents after a divorce. In fact, family court judges may even grant regular child visitation to a parent convicted of violent crimes or a parent with a severe drug addiction. Albeit, those visits will probably be supervised and in a safe environment, but the consensus is that children benefit greatly from having contact with both their parents -- even if those parents could potentially have an adverse influence.

Parenting provisions: Traveling with your children

There are a number of parenting provisions you may want to include in your parenting and custody agreement that pertain to traveling with your child. A parenting provision is specific language that you and your spouse will agree to.

Parenting provisions ensure that you're on the same page and that you have planned in advance how to organize specific aspects of raising your child together. In terms of traveling with your children, there are several parenting provisions you may want to include.

What is reasonable child visitation?

In some Florida child custody cases, a judge may use the language "reasonable visitation" when awarding child visitation rights to a noncustodial spouse. What does this mean? Does reasonable visitation mean that your children should visit with your ex one day a week, two days a week or visitation should happen by some other kind of schedule?

Generally speaking, when a judge awards reasonable visitation, it means that the judge is entrusting the parents with the responsibility of finding a child visitation schedule that they can agree with and is appropriate for their child. Family law courts frequently prefer to give a general award of "reasonable visitation" -- especially in cases where the parents get along well and can arrive at agreements and compromises without court involvement. This is because parents will have the freedom to creatively agree on a visitation plan that works for both of their schedules.

What do psychologists say about parenting plans?

Parenting plans need to be arranged whenever parents divorce in Florida. These plans map out when children will spend time with and/or live with either parent. In the past, courts tended to encourage an easy-to-implement plan that involved the father seeing his or her kids every other weekend. The mothers would then take care of the kids throughout the week.

Psychologists disagree with this parenting plan, however, saying that children do better when they have specially tailored parenting plans that reflect their family's unique circumstances. In this vein, the parenting plan should reflect also the relationship the child has with both parents.

Is your child having a hard time adapting to divorce?

No two children, and no two families, are the same. Florida courts do their best to create uniform rules and guidelines that they can consistently apply to make decisions on child custody cases. However, the different temperaments, attitudes and needs of children and their families require courts to maintain a high degree flexibility when it comes to deciding a particular child custody matter.

When making a child custody decision, one thing that parents and courts will consider relates to the ability of a child to adapt to the many changes that will be part and parcel to a divorce. Some children, for example, might struggle to adjust to alterations in their living schedule and family situation. Also, in the case of a 50-50 child custody plan, the child could have a difficult time moving from one parent's home to the other parent's home either multiple times a week, every other week or however the parenting plan was organized.

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