Most parents would prefer a friendly relationship with a former spouse, but too often it becomes impossible. The tension between former couples or an ex-spouse that enjoys conflict, can upset children and make people say and do things they regret. Visitation increases the risk of conflict, so parents with primary custody need to create a plan to protect their children.
Meet in Public
Parents often only meet their ex-spouse when they drop off or pick up children for visitation. Do not be alone with an ex-partner that has a history of causing arguments or making dishonest statements about what happened during a meeting. Request that all exchanges of the children occur in a public place. Have a reliable witness along as well.
Public drop-offs with others present make it more difficult for someone to claim the child arrived late. The condition of the child, like their cleanliness or mood, is also more difficult to lie about later. Arguments or any concerns about physical violence lessen when the exchange is always public.
Choose a fast food restaurant, a cafe, or a diner as the meeting spot when establishing the visitation order. Make a purchase upon arrival and keep the receipt. The time and date stamp on the receipt acts as a document of your presence. The paper becomes important if an absentee parent attempts to blame the problem on the other parent not meeting their obligation.
Follow the Law
Children are not always safe around their parents, and the bad behavior may not begin until after a divorce. Custodial parents often worry when the current lifestyle of the other parent puts the children in danger. Unfortunately, parents cannot make changes to the visitation schedule on their own.
A contempt charge is possible if custodial parents do not allow the other parent their court-ordered visitation time. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible instead. Changes can only occur with a legal modification of the visitation order. Parents must have proof of the danger to their child either through witnesses, police reports, or medical records for a change to take place.
Honor Their Wishes
The state of Indiana allows children to have a voice in court about where they live and the time they spend with their parents. At the age of 14, the child has the right to make the choice for themselves. Children do not always view their parents the way they see each other.
All custodial parents should do what they must to keep their children safe but avoid the temptation to coerce the children to dislike their other parent. Kids will often say what they know the parent in front of them wants to hear. It can seem satisfying to hear a child say they dislike someone you dislike, but it is still often a traumatic memory for the child.
Choose Written Discussions
Non-custodial parents have a right to know about medical conditions, school information, and other events that affect their child directly. Some people may accuse the other parent of holding this type of information back, and use it as an excuse to try to change custody orders, child support payments, or visitation schedules.
Request during the divorce hearing that all discussions about the children happen in written form rather than verbal exchanges. Written communication prevents misunderstandings and false recollections. Choose a method, like an email that requests notification of receipt or a certified letter, so it is difficult for the other parent to deny receiving the information.
The law office of Travis Van Winkle LLC can help you to devise visitation plans, negotiate divorce agreements, and use other methods to avoid future problems with an expartner. Children do not need to put in the middle of adult issues. Contact us today to learn more about how to make your post-divorce life less stressful.