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Readers Respond: What Are the Biggest Challenges to Making a Regular Visitation Schedule Work?

Responses: 29

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Visitation schedules work best when they're planned out in advance, and each person involved knows what to expect, and when. However, consistent visitation routines aren't always easy to set up and maintain. Share the biggest challenges you've faced in trying to establish a regular visitation schedule, and, if possible, how you've managed to resolve those issues in order to establish a regular visitation schedule work for you and your family.

Note: If you'd like to ask a question about visitation instead, please visit the Single Parents' Forum.

Share Your Insight

What Comes Around Goes Around

I, the mother, lost custody of my daughter 5 years ago, I was accused of neglect, abuse, and being the worst mother ever. Being a small town where my ex-knows everyone, it was easy to call child protective services on me. I have 3 other children from a previous marriage for being such a bad Mother, my children turned out very good, One is a Fire fighter, my daughter a nurse assistant, and still have my 15 year old. The thing that turns my stomach is the fact that my ex- wanted me to abort my daughter, we were not married till a few years after she was born. So the system just believed all the lies he told in the court room and Now my daughter is paying for it. She has been begging me for her to live with me.. I'm not financially stable, have to pay him child support, which is ok with me. But it kills me hearing her cry at night because she is so scared of her father. I just got her a cell phone to keep in touch with her and He keeps threaten to take it away. Dads can be bad too.
—HOPESAVES

The System is Skewed and Broken Part 2

Continued from earlier post of the same name. Hence the problem with the legal system and the tactics used by many women and their attorneys to try and "win" at all costs, mean the relationship between the ex husband and ex wife are permanently destroyed. This is a big obstacle to working harmoniously because you both hate each other to such a pitch that you just don't feel like cooperating. I would encourage couples to try mediation in divorce. That being said - I did that - and I had an agreemt that I would have signed but when my ex was "educated" by her attorney - she abandoned mediation and went to court. 3 years later and she has a $250,000 legal bill that she was ordered to pay. I paid $150,000 in legal fees. She received about $60,000 more in the judgement than what we had agreed in mediation. The financial cost is one thing, but the permanent and total loss of your ability to ever work together is much more serious. So that was th point I was trying to make..
—Guest John

The System is Skewed and Broken

Frankly I grow tired of the sanctimonious BS that I hear from the courts and from women in these cases. I used to be a full time father to my child. After my ex-wife left and gave me papers as I returned from my fathers funeral, I was shocked to hear that she wanted full custody and made every false allegation under the sun regarding "abuse" and tried to get orders of protection against me. I never did a bad thing to either of them and always worked hard. After three years of fighting and lies, I have visitation every 2 weeks, but frankly I feel so tired and sickened by the whole process that I almost can't be bothered. The grieving process you go through when the state removes your rights to your child, tells you when you can visit, is such that it makes it very hard to move on. Fathers are treated unfairly by the system. I can see now why some fathers decide the pain is too great and just walk away and start a new life. It's exhausting and pointless fighting for years.
—Guest John

This is what works for us...

As my husband entered his 2nd marriage, mine also, he had the foresight to set the standards high in regards to how his children will act and treat their stepmother, myself. He always has my back and has told his children that our loving marriage comes first, with the exception of emergencies. A great deal of respect is expected from everyone and so far it's worked. If a problem comes up or there is an issue, it is discussed when dad comes home and the girls are told that, again with a tone of respect. One big change however is that we always took the high road and never spoke a negative word regarding the bio mom. We took a chance and thought it would be best to have a family meeting when bad mouthing occurs on the other side. Children sense what's really going on and we believe it's important to stay calm but always tell the truth and explain why things are the way they are.
—Guest Patti

Relocation

My ex husband left my son and I when he was 18 months old. I had to get a protective order against him for abusing us. It was agreed that he cannot harass me and has supervised visits twice a month for 3 hours. He is always late and leaves early. He plays with our son for about thirty minutes then sits and complains how tired he is. I got my old job back in another state were I grew up and family is there. It's double pay then any job around here and more opportunities for my two year old and I. I go see my attorney Monday to start the process and he told me to have some type of custody visitation plan drawn up to give my ex reasonable visitation. My son has never been away from me and does not know his dad very well or that side of the family. I feel just because I am trying to better out life does not erase all the awful things he has done to us. My attorney said my ex could possibly get him every other holiday for a week and six weeks In the summer. Help!!!
—Guest Lyndsey

Ex Limiting Communication

My ex has instructed my son to turn off his cell phone when my son visits with for his scheduled weekends. My son does not like to go to his dad's but it is court ordered. I would call him and tell him good morning or good night. Since my ex is trying to spite me, he told my son to turn off his phone.
—chyeanne

But HE needs a break too.

My ex-boyfriend want 3 visits a week, but he only sees my almost-2-year-old daughter once a week on Saturdays for a few hours. He fought me to see her, and now he doesn't see her. He fought for overnight weekends, and now he says, "What about him?" He needs a life too... He works Monday to Friday... "Don't we all?" I so regret having my child with him. It's the child that always suffers.
—Guest Penelope

Never Good Enough

My ex was married before with two wonderful children. During 7 years with him we struggled to have any time with the children. He acted miserable, and I was told that the ex-wife did not allow him time with the children. Now we are going through a divorce and I give him open access to our 5-year-old, but he just can care less to spend any time with our son.
—Guest antello

Absent and Inconsistent

My ex lives 1,400 miles away and has been absent from my child's life for 4 years. My child is now 6 and a half now. He is a truck driver and has absolutely now idea when/if he can make it for visits. I am trying to create some kind of parenting plan that allows him visits, but with no consistency it is something that I am having some serious problems with. I requested mediation, but he had it waived, so I have no help in this. We obviously cannot do every other weekend, we cannot do holidays/summers because he lives so far away and has no relationship with my child, and creating visitation without the availability of consistency is seemingly impossible.
—Guest Rickie

3 kids under 5

I'm used to seeing my kids everyday and I'm struggling with these every other weekend visits. My ex is starting to dig her toes in when I ask for more access and says it's messing with their routine! GRR! I don't want to go through the courts but I want and think I deserve 50/50 custody. And I'm sick and tired of hearing, "Dads only get every other weekend." Well, those are dads that don't give a damn., I love my Curt, Hayley, and Tess so much I want them as much as possible. I'm their dad, and I'lll be dammed if I see them 2 days out of 14! Dads have rights, too!
—Guest shane

He thinks I don't understand his needs.

My ex sees our kids every other weekend from Friday night to Sunday morning, and then one weekday each week. He thinks I don't understand that he needs a break, too, since he is working full time. I'm sorry, but he chose this situation, and the kids need him more than every other weekend and here and there during the week. He should have thought about getting a "break" before!
—Guest nicole

Visitation Challenges

What do you do when custodial parent is trying to limit your time with your child? Barred from school lunches (one day a month)... No extra time... Using the visitation agreement as their Bible... ("If it's not in the agreement, you can't do it.") You coach your child in sports, and you're told "no extra practice time" just on your weekends... Refusing to take the child to practice... ("I'm not taking the child to practice; you can take child to practice on your weekends.") Not being included in the child's school work, homework, school activities... (Being told by guardian ad litem, "It's not up to the custodial parent to kept you informed. Develope a relationship with the school on your own.") What about the child having learning problem in school? The non-custodial parent is willing to pay for a tutor and sets it up, but the custodial parent refuses to take the child to the tutor... Being told by guardian ad litem that you're operating outside of you rights... This is being done right in front of our eyes with the courts' blessing. And are the needs of child being considered? Nope!
—Guest andrew jackson

Dads are Parents, Too!

Dirty divorce tactics were done to me after I filed. She accused of everything. I enjoy 50 percent placement. Don't let moms act superior to raising young ones. My 2- and 3-year-olds scream and cry on return to her. Fight for your rights! It's not easy, but the rewards are doubled and so worth it. Life is short, and they grow too fast. Just because babies come out of woman does not automatically make them good parents. We had week on, week off, due to her hostility towards me. And the kids sensed it. They need schedules and routines; otherwise their worlds are chaos. This cannot be done every other weekend. Never give up!
—Guest Ryan

Grandparent Guardianship

Both parents abandoned him the third day of his life. Now mom is remarried and is wanting to take him away from us, his grandparents, who have been raising him since he was three days old. Sometimes she'd go months or more without any communication. And now she's demanding more and more time and asking him if he wants to live with her. He is like my own, even though I didn't give birth to him. And she basically has no involvement financially, emotionally, providing care, or anything else other than to showcase him occasionally on Facebook. What rights do we have?
—Guest heartbroken grandparent

Consider Your Child's Best Interests!

To those who say that mothers are being selfish for nursing your baby, you are being ridiculous! A mother and a child are biologically inseparable for years! They child is meant to be nourished by its mother, and you could be doing your child damage by pushing for long visitations. There is no reason that you can't work your visitation around your child's nursing schedule. It is of huge benefit for your child to encourage breastfeeding as long as possible (yes, at least 2.5 to 7 years is the biological norm). Your child will be smarter, stronger, more confident, more empathetic, and a better person overall for this. I thought you wanted the best for your child...not just the best for you.
—Guest Fairness to Babes

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What Are the Biggest Challenges to Making a Regular Visitation Schedule Work?

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