Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts During a Non-Custodial Parent’s Period of Possession with Their Child

Now is a good time for parents to plan ahead for Spring Break, Easter holidays and summer vacation.

Consider if you were your child. Would the plans you’re making for them make you feel loved and cared for, or would the plans – or lack thereof – make you feel like an afterthought or burden? Your child is being removed from their routine. You should create a comfortable transition for a child.

DO:

  • Advise the other parent and child well in advance what the plans for extended periods of possession are so there can be anticipation of the plans.
  • Get a child’s airline ticket far enough in advance for long-distance travel to select reasonable times for a child to travel.
  • Be at the airport ahead of time to meet your child. Do not make them wait! Show your child you care enough to be on time and not put them at risk in a public place.
  • Make arrangements for activities and/or suitable childcare during extended periods of possession. Ask a child what they want to do during extended periods of possession. Give consideration to their thoughts and feelings.
  • Encourage and allow a child to communicate at a reasonable time and for a reasonable duration with the other parent, affording the child privacy and respect.

DON’T:

  • Take a child for periods of possession unless you are prepared to take care of and engage them.
  • Act like it’s a burden to care for a child.
  • Introduce your child to a new “significant other” (SO) when they visit you. Be discerning and introduce a “SO” only when you are in a serious relationship with the “SO.” Don’t sleep in the same room with a “SO” when a child is with you. That might be your routine, but it will make a child uncomfortable.
  • Make disparaging remarks about the other parent while the child is in your possession, and don’t allow other people to do so.
  • Make the child feel like they have to keep secrets from the other parent.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown