If you are going through a divorce or have recently divorced and have children, your primary concern is naturally their well-being. Part of this is hammering out a visitation schedule that works for your entire family. If you and your divorcing spouse are able to come to an agreement regarding when your kids spend time with each of you, you are doing well. Sometimes, however, children have their own opinions on the matter, and sometimes, they complain about spending time with their other parent.
If your kids are putting up a fuss about their visitation schedule, remember that there are things that you can do to help them move past this impediment. If you’re facing a divorce, it’s always in you and your children’s best interests to obtain the professional legal counsel of an experienced Houston family law attorney.
Your Children’s Best Interests
You and your ex obviously want what’s best for your children, and that includes having them spend a significant amount of time with both of you. In fact, the court’s stance is generally that it is best for children to split their time between both parents. If you’ve put in the hard work necessary to hammer out a visitation plan that accommodates everyone’s schedules and that allows your children the opportunity to continue deepening their bonds with both of you, you should feel good about that.
Your Children’s Preference
It’s established that divorce is difficult, but children are likely to take it hardest of all. Even a relatively amicable divorce still leaves the children involved with a broken family unit and an altered worldview. Even if your first priority is to protect your children throughout the divorce process, they are still likely to be significantly affected by your divorce. And these effects are often unpredictable. If your children suddenly (or not so suddenly) don’t want to spend time with your ex, it puts you in a difficult situation.
Divorce puts most parents into hyper-protective mode when it comes to their children. And if your children are expressing a desire not to spend time with their other parent, your natural inclination may be to go along with their wishes. After all, you certainly don’t want to cause them further pain. It’s important to recognize, however, that you know what’s best for your children – and this likely involves spending time with both you and their other parent.
Reading Your Cues
If you’ve been through a divorce, you’ve been through one of life’s most difficult hurdles, and it’s taken its toll. If your home is your children’s primary residence, they are bound to pick up on your emotional cues – no matter how carefully you attempt to neutralize them. This is only natural. If your children are expressing their desire not to spend time with your ex, it could be a manifestation of their solidarity with you.
Talking with your children openly about the matter can help. Showing your children how much you value their relationship with your ex can go a long way toward helping them overcome their reticence. Remember, too, that there are resources available. An experienced children’s counselor can help immensely. Doing whatever you can to support your children’s ongoing relationship with your ex is in everyone’s best interests.
You went through the difficult divorce process, and you hammered out a visitation schedule that works. If your children are balking about seeing your ex, your impulse might be to allow them a break from doing so, but that impulse can lead to trouble. To ignore a court-ordered visitation schedule could leave you in contempt of court. Once the court signs off on your visitation schedule, it’s important to carefully follow that schedule. In the eyes of the court, this schedule is in your children’s best interests, and to disobey it is to disobey the court’s ruling.
As your children grow, their needs and schedules evolve. If their disinterest in spending time with their other parent is a function of this evolution, it may be time to modify the visitation schedule. If you and your ex can come to an agreement on the terms of these changes, the court is likely to sign off on them. While going through the court may seem like a silly formality, it will help keep you in accordance with court orders. Simply agreeing to a new schedule with your ex could prove to be a problem if he or she later decides to misconstrue your actions as being outside court orders.
The court understands that, as children mature, their schedules evolve. Hammering out a new schedule based on your children’s changing needs isn’t likely to present inordinately difficult obstacles.
If you have legitimate concerns about whether or not your ex is fit to have unsupervised visitation with your children, that is a different matter. If your ex has issues related to addiction, suffers from mental health problems, or is physically and/or emotionally abusive, you need to directly address the matter with the court. Working with a skilled Houston family law attorney will help ensure that your children’s health and well-being are paramount.
If You Have Concerns about Your Visitation Schedule, Consult with an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney Today
Your child visitation arrangements are naturally your foremost concern when you go through a divorce. Once you come to a workable solution on this issue, the rest will likely pale in comparison. It’s important to recognize, however, that visitation issues can arise post-divorce. Whatever the issue is, however, a knowledgeable Houston family law attorney can help you find a solution that works for you and your children.
The dedicated family law attorneys at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are committed to providing divorced parents like you with the necessary resources to optimize their children’s visitation schedules. Our experienced legal team has the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help you and your children. For a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.