After seeking assistance from a Pasadena divorce attorney, non-custodial parents often find themselves wondering how to handle visitation with their children. The idea of scheduling time to spend with your child takes some getting used to, but visitation can be a positive experience for everyone involved if it's handled appropriately.
In many cases, the natural impulse of the newly divorced non-custodial parent is to try to pack visitation times full of activities. Movie nights, bowling trips, shopping sprees, or amusement park visits are fine for special occasions, but they shouldn't be a regular occurrence. When you lived with your child on a full-time basis, it wasn't your job to entertain him every minute of the day. Treat visitation the same way. Special activities are fun, but the goal of visitation is to allow you maintain a normal relationship with your child. This includes things like assigning chores, helping with homework, and visiting extended family members as well as simply spending a quiet night together at home.
Non-custodial parents who are having financial difficulties often downsize to smaller living quarters. However, you should try to have a separate bedroom for your child if at all feasible. It's important for your child to feel like he is more than just a visitor in your home. It's not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on new furniture, but it is a good idea to encourage him to bring favorite toys, posters, or other items to help decorate his room so it feels like a warm and inviting place. If it's not possible for your child to have a separate bedroom, at least make sure he has adequate space for his personal belongings during visitation times.
Realize that visitation is often traumatic for children of divorce. It's perfectly natural for a child to miss his other parent during visitation times. Allowing phone calls, emails, or web cam chats can be helpful in alleviating some of this homesickness. Let your child know that it's OK to miss his mom or dad and encourage him to talk about his feelings with you. Never say anything negative about your ex while your child is present or make statements that could be interpreted as asking your child to pick sides in your Pasadena divorce.