Sole Custody Visitation Schedules and Custody Agreements—Creating the Schedule
If you are trying to get sole custody of your child because your ex is neglectful, abusive, or has other problems that may harm your child, you should try to get supervised visitation for the other parent. This will help keep your child safe and out of harm’s way.
Sole custody is one of the best ways you can protect your child from the other parent. However, not all sole custody agreements are created because the other parent is abusive. Sometimes there are other reasons for a parent to obtain sole custody. Maybe the other parent works too much and isn’t able to spend much time with the child. Perhaps the other parent lacks the skills or patience to take care of the child in a larger capacity. Possibly the other parent is disinterested in the child.
Regardless of the reason, if you have (or will have) sole custody of your child for reasons outside of the parent being a danger to the child, you will need to create a sole custody visitation schedule.
You should make your schedule according to the needs of the child and in a manner that is appropriate to the situation.
One common sole custody visitation schedule is for the non-custodial parent to have the child every other weekend. Sometimes the non-custodial parent will also be able to see the child one night during the week for a few hours. As long as the other parent is fit, it is important for your child to be able to establish and maintain a relationship with him or her.
If you are able to reach an agreement with the other parent, you are free to create your sole custody agreement as you both see fit. You can be creative with the schedule. You should not feel compelled to conform to a standard schedule if you are able to create a schedule that works for you and your child.
If the other parent has a non-traditional schedule and has Mondays and Tuesdays off, you are free to schedule visitation on those days instead of the weekend if you want to. You know your child best and you know your own work schedules. You are the people who are the most capable of making a schedule that works for you.
If the other parent’s living situation is not conducive to raising a child, such as the parent is living in a dorm, you may want to exclude overnights from the schedule until the parent is able to provide a better environment for the child.
If you have sole custody because the other parent lives far away, your child probably won’t have frequent visits with the other parent but he or she can have longer visits. For example, if it is feasible for your child to spend several weeks in the summer with the non-custodial parent, you can base your plan around taking advantage of your child’s school breaks.
You will also need to include a schedule for holidays and vacations if the other parent does not have supervised visits. It is important for your child to be able to spend adequate amounts of time with each of you on special occasions.
Try not to get hung up on the verbiage. Some judges prefer to award joint custody and you may be awarded joint custody even if the schedule is the same as it would be for a parent with sole custody. As with everything pertaining to your child, you should create the schedule according to the needs and best interests of your child.