Determining custody and visitation of your children involves some of the most important decisions that you’ll make during your divorce. Rhode Island law designates two kinds of custody — joint and sole. It also designates to types of custody — physical and legal.
With joint custody, you draw up a child visitation schedule in order to specify how parents will share custody. And, more importantly, how to continue a relationship with their children. Having an official visitation schedule in place can reduce confusion and conflict between the parents as well. This, in turn, can minimize the need to communicate with one another if that’s an issue. More importantly, however, it gives children a sense of security that they know where and with whom they’ll be spending their nights, weekends, vacations and holidays.
What Is a Child Visitation Schedule?
A visitation schedule in Rhode Island actually consists of three separate schedules in addition to provisions for electronic and telephone contact with both parents:
- Residential: This is the foundation of the visitation schedule. It designates whose home the child will be in on a regular basis.
- Holiday: This designates where a child will spend holidays and special occasions. Often, children alternate where they’ll spend holidays from one year to the next.
- Vacation: This codifies where children will spend school breaks and summer vacation.
Of course, life is unpredictable. Sometimes a parent isn’t able to take time off from work when they hope to. And sometimes other unforeseen circumstances arise. As a result, it may be wise to include a clause requiring parents to give each other a certain amount of advance notice if they aren’t able to stick to the schedule.
Focus on Your Children
The primary focus when drafting the schedule is what’s best for your children. First, a visitation schedule should minimize inconvenience and negative impact on the kids. And it should also consider their schooling, extracurricular activities, friendships and relationships with their family. Your Rhode Island family law attorney can provide guidance, of course, as you and your spouse develop your child visitation schedule. Of course, you will also want to make changes to it as your kids get older.
Source: Custody X Change, “Rhode Island Custody and Visitation Schedules,” accessed Jan. 13, 2017