- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
A Visitation Schedule Template for Your Parenting Plan
Your Visitation Schedule and Your Parenting Plan
When following common parenting plan templates, the first step is often to create your visitation schedule. That's because your visitation schedule is one of the most important components of your parenting plan. This is the document that directly impacts how much time you will spend with your children after you and the child's other parent divorce or separate. So, it is vital that you take the time to make a good schedule so that you can maintain and build your relationship with your child.
Creating a visitation schedule does take some work and effort--but it is worth it. To help you get started, here is a common visitation schedule template to follow. It's a good idea to start with this and modify your schedule as needed so it fits your exact situation.
The Repeating Cycle of Custody and Visitation
The first step in the visitation schedule template is to make the repeating cycle of custody and visitation. This cycle is the foundation for the rest of your schedule.
To make the schedule, lay out the parenting time for a certain number of weeks (common cycles last 2-4 weeks). Divide up the parenting time for the block of time and evaluate it to see how it will work for your situation. This will probably take some time for you to figure out. If possible, make the schedule with the other parent so both of you accept it and support it.
Once you have a 2-4 week schedule, you simply repeat the cycle throughout the year.
The Holiday Schedule
The next part of the template is to make the holiday schedule. To do this, you and the other parent need to decide which holidays you want to include in the schedule. Make a list of all the holidays (these can be school, national, and religious holidays if you want). Then determine how you want to divide the holiday time. Some parents like to alternate holidays, some like to share them. Decide what will work for your situation. Most parents do a combination of alternating and sharing.
Assign the parents to the holidays and decide how long the holiday time will last. Discuss how you will rotate the holidays every year (some parents make a new holiday schedule while others simply switch the holidays). It can also be helpful to discuss transportation for holiday time.
Vacations and Special Events
Last, you want to add vacation time and special events to your visitation schedule. There are several different ways to look at vacations. Some parents come up with a completely different residential schedule during certain parts of the year (usually during summer break). You can also add weeks where each parent is allowed to take the child on a vacation. You can assign the exact week, or you can agree that each parent has so many vacation days during the year.
Special events are times when the normal schedule changes for special times. This could be a soccer game or a birthday party that the child wants to attend. You can put these times into the schedule and rearrange things as needed.
By following this template for your visitation schedule and parenting plan you will be in a good position to enjoy your time with the children. Once the schedule is in place, you can focus your energy on parenting--which is what you want to do anyway.