When Arizona couples are going through divorce, the upheaval to their goals, finances and everyday lives can be overwhelming. But where children are involved, reaching an agreement on parenting time must be a priority. For the non-custodial parent, what will this look like, and what can they expect?
Every family situation varies, and each relationship has different needs. For parents who value a connection to their children and wish to be a strong presence in their lives as they grow, however, having good communication with their ex that is free of old grievances or resentments is crucial to obtaining a fair and consistent visitation schedule.
A normal visitation schedule
Above all, any parenting plan must have a level of consistency that is essential for the children’s sense of stability. Routines are important, especially for young children. When parents make the plan, they should be prepared stick to it. Having said this, if something unexpected happens, both parents should be prepared to communicate and have flexibility to make the change if necessary.
A typical non-custodial visitation schedule looks like:
- Overnights every other weekend
- One mid-week overnight per week
- Some special occasions, holidays, or birthdays
- A longer summer visitation of two to six weeks
A visitation schedule should accommodate not only the parents’ lives, but also the children’s needs. If one parent’s work schedule or distance from the home presents challenges to a midweek overnighter, for example, extending the weekend visitations by one day can be a compromise.
Sticking to the agreement is key
Deciding what is in the best interest of the children should be the guiding factor when working out a parenting schedule. Once the parents have worked out a schedule during the divorce process, life may change for one or both and require a revision. Keeping communication open and having a willingness to negotiate these changes is essential.
Arizona recognizes sole or joint legal custody, which involves decisions concerning the child’s religious or education formation and medical care, as well as primary or joint physical custody, which has to do with the physical care of the child and custodial responsibilities or visitation rights of the parents.