In divorce situations involving children, parents have to make some tough decisions. Sometimes a successful arrangement can be agreed upon between both parents. Other times, court intervention may be required to come up with arrangements that work for everyone. That being said, child custody is about doing what is in the best interest of the child, and there is a lot of flexibility to do that.
While there are commonly used child custody and visitation arrangements, parents can choose whatever arrangements they are comfortable with, as long as it is in the best interest of the child. This can lead to interesting or unusual arrangements.
A great example of an interesting or unusual agreement involving visitation was published by the Washington Post. In the piece, the author explains that her husband left the family four years ago for his new pregnant girlfriend. They have been legally separated since, after having a 20-year history.
In the months after the breakup, the author would not even allow her husband to step foot into the house. She would gather the children and send them outside to meet him. The children's father, who lived out of state, would drive 5 hours to see their children. One day she had taken the children to the city where their father lived, to a museum where they had arranged to meet. "My son begged me to stay. Looking into my son's eyes, the only truthful answer would have been because it was too painful for me, and that didn't seem to me a good enough reason, so I stayed."
The author then realized she had to put her hurt aside and focus on what was best for her children. Over time she let her husband back into the house when he would pick up their children. Then that progressed into her husband staying on the weekends. He would stay in the guestroom and be in charge of breakfast in the morning. This arrangement seemed to work for a family for quite a while. However, the children eventually realized that this was not a normal arrangement.
Best for the Family
Eventually, the parents decided that the father wouldn't be staying on the weekends anymore. The children missed their "Dad's weekends" and the parents ultimately discovered a way to maintain a comfortable connection between the father and the children without the overnights.
This is one example of creative child custody and visitation arrangements. Of course, not everyone will want their ex to stay with them. However, there are many different possible arrangements and an experienced lawyer can help you find the one that is right for you. At Stephen T. Holman, P.A., we will review your situation and help you pursue the outcome that is best for you and your children.