Getting Started on Your Visitation Schedule
If you are a divorced or separated parent who is making a child visitation schedule, you need to know the basics of how the schedule is made. To begin, the visitation schedule is composed of three main parts:
- The repeating cycle,
- The holiday schedule, and
- Vacation time and special events.
To make a good child visitation schedule, you need to include all of this time. Here are some examples and samples of how to do this.
Sample Repeating Visitation Cycles
The repeating cycle of custody and visitation is the first layer of your visitation schedule. Basically, this is the regular schedule of custody that the parents want to follow. The other layers are when the visitation time changes.
Some example visitation schedules include: one parent having custody during the week and the other parent getting weekends; alternating weekends; 2nd, 4th, and 5th weekends; extended weekend visits, weekly evening or overnight visits with every other weekend, etc.
The Holiday Schedule
To make the holiday schedule, you first need to decide what holidays you want to include. You and the other parent should make a list of the holidays that your family celebrates and put those in the schedule. You can include school holidays, religious holidays, and national holidays in your list.
Once you have the list of holidays, you need to decide how long the holiday lasts. Thanksgiving could last the entire weekend, or it could be the afternoon. Christmas can be a few days along with winter break, or it can just be the day. Holidays are a good chance to even out the visitation a bit--if one parent needs more time with the child, they can be given longer holidays.
Now you should go through the list and assign the holidays to the parents. Holiday time should be as fair as possible--with both parents getting around the same holiday time. You should also decide how you will rotate the holidays over the years. Many parents simply alternate the holidays every year, or you can create a new holiday schedule every year.
Finishing it Off
When your repeating cycle and holiday schedule are in place, you have done the bulk of the work. The last thing to include is any vacation time or special events in the calendar. Many parents like to schedule in a week or two of vacation when each parent has the chance to take the child somewhere. You can actually schedule in the date, or you and the other parent can agree that you have a certain number of vacation days a year.