Visitation Guidelines: Custody Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Co-Parenting

Divorce affects children in different ways. Research published by Northern Illinois University shows that adolescents with divorced parents are 15 percent more disengaged from their families than adolescents from two parent homes. Healthy co-parenting is important for a child’s development even after the dissolution of a marriage. This is why it is important to have visitation guidelines to follow.

Parents should set up specific goals and expectations to help transition their children to living in two separate homes. A parenting plan with consistency in house rules and upbringing is also helpful as the child gets older. In order to allow custody visitations to progress as smoothly as possible, it helps to remember to:

  • Be respectful of your former spouse, especially in front of children;
  • Develop routines to provide a sense of security;
  • Maintain open communication and be as flexible with schedules as possible; and
  • Never question your child’s loyalty to one parent over the other.

Children often feel self-blame and lack motivation in school or extracurricular activities after experiencing a divorce. It is a big adjustment to change from both parents being present all the time to have limited times with each parent every week. A set schedule with quality time at both households can have a tremendous impact on a child’s upbringing.

When divorce affects children, it is important to act in their best interest. There are tips for what not to do as well when it comes to visitation:

  • Don’t make children a go-between to relay divorce-related messages;
  • Don’t be late or fail to show up for visitations;
  • Don’t project feelings of the divorce on to children that will make them feel guilty; and
  • Don’t withhold visitation to punish your former spouse.

Divorce also leaves an impact on children even when custody rights are no longer an issue. There are long-term effects that divorce has on older children’s future relationships. Setting a good parenting example will help aid in their positive growth.

When a marriage ends and children are involved, parenting still remains a responsibility. As children grow older, custody arrangements may change. It is necessary to have these established and documented before the court to protect your rights. If you are going through a divorce and need legal counsel regarding custody in Illinois, contact a qualified Wheaton divorce attorney today.