How to Obtain the Most Parenting Time Possible After Divorce
Divorce is often hardest on the parent who is not awarded primary custody. Child parenting time can ease the painful separation, but in order to be meaningful, it should be sufficient to provide frequent and continuing parent-child contact. You can work toward maximizing time with your children in a number of ways:
- Negotiate parenting time during divorce proceedings. In Arizona, divorcing parents of minors must complete a workable parenting plan. It should take into account your work and travel schedule, the distance between your new home and the children’s home and schools and arrangements for vacations and holiday visits. Most importantly, you should make sure your requested visiting time is geared to your children’s best interests, namely, providing the guidance and emotional support they need of you. Even in the most amicable of circumstances, a knowledgeable family law attorney can confirm that the plan will be workable now and as life circumstances change. If you cannot agree to a parenting plan, the court will force a plan upon you that you may not find reasonable.
- Modifying an existing court order. After divorce, you may be able to obtain modification of a parenting time order that you believe gives you insufficient parenting time. But to do so requires, among other things, demonstrating responsible and amicable conduct as a parent. Be on time for pickup and drop-offs, be cordial to the other parent, don’t bad mouth him or her in front of the children and don’t ramp up disputes. Document problems that come up, such as the other parent being late in drop-offs, short-changing of your parenting time and involving the children in disagreements. A family law attorney can help you decide whether going back to court for a modification is advisable and how to do so.
- Increasing involvement in the child’s activities. Even without court intervention, you can add to your parenting time by integrating yourself with your child’s activities. School-related opportunities abound, such as those requiring a lot of time—joining the PTA or becoming a classroom parent— and one-time events such as attending a school assembly or chaperoning a field trip. Outside of school, you can volunteer to coach your child’s soccer team or to lead a Girl Scout troop. By maximizing the time you spend outside of the parenting plan parameters, you effectively achieve greater parenting time.
If you have questions about parenting time rights during or after a divorce, contact Scottsdale divorce attorney Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. for a free consultation at our Scottsdale office. You can reach us by phone at 602-789-3497 or contact us online.