Setting up a visitation schedule can be a complicated process for many families. However, this process may require even more thought if children are still toddlers.
As parents create their visitation schedule, they should consider several factors.
The relationship between parent and child
According to the Texas Office of the Attorney General, parents should consider the needs of their child. Have both parents been active caregivers or has one parent been the primary caregiver? How will the toddler react to separation from this person? Will the child need a transition schedule to make the exchange easier? These factors affect what type of arrangement might be ideal.
If one parent has not been an active caregiver, for example, parents may want to utilize a phased-in possession order. In this situation, toddlers would have shorter visits with the noncustodial parent. Over time, parents can increase the length of these visits. This allows the toddler to get to know the other parent over a period of time so they can develop a healthy relationship.
The development of the child
Parents also need to consider what kind of arrangement their child is ready for. According to Family Education, toddlers may not always be ready for lengthy visits. Sometimes, young children may have difficulty transitioning between houses. If they think their child is ready, noncustodial parents may be able to keep their toddler for longer visits. As children do better with long visits, parents may consider keeping their child overnight.
If parents focus on the needs of their child, they can find an arrangement that works for the whole family.