The Single Worst Way to Change Your Custody Agreement
visitation schedules change but there's a right way and a wrong way...
You have put in the hard work, the tears, and the stress of a divorce. You are now legally separated and learning how to be with your ex-spouse. After so many tumultuous months or years you might be tempted to let some things slide.
As your kids get older, their relationship with you and your spouse will become more complicated. Their needs and schedules will change for school or for any number of reasons. And if you have teenagers, every conversation might be particularly stressful.
After all the stress of a divorce, many parents fall into the role of a doormat. A doormat for their kids, to their ex-spouse, everyone - just to avoid a confrontation. And while it is understandable, it’s not helpful.
Teach your children through your example that boundaries are a real thing. And they should be respected. Don’t allow your children or your ex to manipulate the schedule to accommodate them without talking to you first. And when they do talk to you - speak up!
Another common situation is often with younger children. Where your ex-spouse might not make visiting the children a priority and your kids are desperate to see their other parent. This can often lead to you bending over backwards to make any kind of connection happen between them.
This kind of desperation models poor behavior and teaches your children that they are less valued. It sets a pattern of living as if they must constantly change themselves to gain the approval of others. Again, this comes down to boundaries and modeling self respect to your children.
Doing Things Unofficially
When you avoid confrontation and don’t set proper boundaries, you are setting the stage for a legal issue. The single worst way to change your custody agreement is to let things change without officially changing your visitation schedule. It’s natural to want to play the nice guy, especially when you have been through a divorce. But at the end of the day the Visitation Schedule on file with the court is a form of protection. For you and for your kids.
Let’s say your ex wants to switch weekends around or has a whole idea about how to do a summer schedule. That’s fantastic! Just be sure to file the new arrangement with your local court. This is important because parental abduction is a real thing and should be taken seriously. And for those of you that would never imagine your ex taking your children, you probably didn’t expect them to be your ex on your wedding day.
So protect yourself, and protect your children by always keeping the court up to date with any custody changes. If you and your ex are in agreement, it’s simply a matter of filing the paperwork.
If you need more help managing custody modifications be sure to call our office. We know that when kids are involved, a divorce is just the beginning of the journey. By the way, we never use gatekeepers. Call us at 949-734-7300 and talk to Hollie Lemkin today!