Finding a Way to Get More Parenting Time
Divorce can be an excruciating time, and more so when children are involved. If you have tried and failed to make the relationship work with your ex, remember that you don’t have to fail with your children. The court may have awarded you limited time with them, and that judgment could feel unfair; however, there are ways you can build a case so that you can ask for more parenting time.
Be Reliable and Present for Routine Activities
If you’re going to ask for more parenting time, you’re going to have to prove that you deserve it. This starts by making the best of the allotted time you do have. Try to be the parent who is indispensable and provides stability in your children’s lives. For example, offer to drive your kids to school every morning. Not only do you get to spend five to 10 minutes every day with them, you’ll show them that you can provide a daily need and that you’re part of their routine. Routines are important for children as it helps them feel safe.
Another reason it’s important to be part of your children’s routine is that it makes you indispensable. Your ex can rely on you being there, and so can your kids. You may not have all the time you want with your children, but you can make the time that you do have count. The next time you’re in court, this consistency will be viewed favorably.
Don’t Miss Visits, and Keep Your Visitation Times Smooth
If you want to ask for more parenting time, your children must feel comfortable and safe in your home. This is your time to spend quality time with each of them and your chance to prove that you’re an awesome parent. Organize these visitation times carefully. Be on time when you pick them up and when you drop them off.
Dedicate this time to your kids, and avoid inviting your own friends over during “their” time. However, if you have a new romantic interest, discuss this with your ex, and let your ex know that your new partner may be at your home.
When your children are with you, make sure your ex can contact you at all times. Separation is a stressful time for both of you, so don’t add to the stress by being hard to reach.
Keep a journal, and document all your activities with your children, no matter how mundane they seem. If you’re doing well as a co-parent, your documents will reflect this. They’ll show that you were involved with just about everything, despite your limited hours. Make sure to speak on the phone with your children daily, even if it’s just to wish them goodnight. Document the phone calls too. A New Jersey family law attorney can then help you sort through everything and tell you what’s relevant.
Be a Responsible Parent With Schedules and Rules
When you ask for more parenting time, you need to demonstrate that you’re a responsible parent. This means keeping rules and contributing to child-rearing. Before the separation happened, you and your ex probably had a list of rules that you both agreed upon. If not, you should both sit down to make a list of rules that the kids will need to follow in both homes. Making joint decisions on raising your children is important because it demonstrates that you’re taking an active part in their upbringing.
Don’t Get Discouraged and Stay Positive
Not feeling like you’re a major part of your children’s lives can certainly take its toll, and you may want to play the “blame game,” where you blame your ex. Unfortunately, this is self-defeating. Remind yourself to stay positive. You may have a limited amount of time with your children now, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. If you’re determined to be a great co-parent, the court will take notice. Keep in mind that you’re still raising children and that takes work whether you’re a couple or not. But staying positive and focused on what you want long-term should be your goal.
We can provide a New Jersey family law attorney who can help you with your child custody modification case. If you’d like to ask the court for more parenting time with your children and you need help, contact Morgenstern & Rochester online or at (856) 489-6200.