Dos and do nots for successful parental visitations in Texas

Putting animosities aside and focusing on their children may help Texas parents make visitation a positive experience for their kids.

When parents in Texas and elsewhere get divorced or otherwise decide to raise their children apart, they often enter into visitation agreements. As they adjust to their new sense of normal, many families are unsure of how to make two-home situations work, which may only add to the turmoil their children may be experiencing. Taking certain steps and committing to making their co-parenting arrangements work may be essential to making their visitations successful and easing their children through a potentially difficult transition.

Do: Stay consistent

When their parents split up, things often seem out of order for children, whether they realize it or not. Key to helping them regain their footing and adjust to this major life change is establishing consistency. Setting up rules to be followed in both households and working to limit the other disruptions they experience may help children ease into and find balance in a visitation arrangement.

Do not: Stop communicating

After a divorce, many couples think they no longer must deal with one another. That is not the case, however, for those who share children. Keeping the lines of communication open is vital to successfully implementing a visitation arrangement as they must discuss what is going on in their children's lives in order to effectively co-parent. Although it is important to work together, and to allow their kids to see them doing so, people should ensure that they have difficult or adult conversations away from their children. Fighting during the drop-off or pickup times may make them a source of added tension or upset, which may affect how children adjust to their two-home lifestyles.

Do: Allow flexibility

While making a visitation schedule is important for developing a solid foundation for children during this major life change, parents should keep in mind that things come up and plans may change. It is a good idea for people to stick to their schedules as best as they are able, but to allow for adjustments when the situation calls for it. Discussing vacation plans and the kids' extracurricular activities ahead of time may help avoid disputes down the road.

Do not: Involve the children in adult issues

Particularly when their kids are older, it can be tempting for parents to send messages to each other through their children. This may include discussing divorce-related issues such as child support or making or canceling visitation plans. Although it may seem harmless, using children as go-betweens may increase their anxieties and make them feel as though they have to choose a side. Therefore, parents should refrain from relaying messages via their kids, and instead allow the visitation transitions to be about their children's comfort and ease.

Working with an attorney

The more contentious family law issues become for people in Texas, the more challenging they may be for them and their families to overcome. Therefore, those who are considering a divorce may find it helpful to seek legal guidance. A lawyer may guide them through the process, looking out for their rights and helping them achieve amicable resolutions.