Even if you don’t have primary custody of your child you should consider ways in which you can maximize your time with the child. There are ways you can get more time. You must be strategic. If you are on the losing end of getting more time with your child there is probably a good reason. Here are 3 reasons why we see people NOT getting more time sharing with their child. This is based on over 20 years of litigating complex custody and time-sharing cases.
- You asked for too much! Everyone wants to maximize the time they have with their children. This means that you need to be thinking about how much time you should ask for. If you currently have your child every other weekend but then try to jump to a 50/50 time sharing arrangement that is probably too big of a jump. Children are resilient but need time, just like you, to handle change. Instead of asking for 50/50 why not start with asking for a few more hours or just one extra overnight? This may not sound significant but if you can take the gradual steps to accomplishing what you want then within a year or so time you can finally get to the destination you are seeking.
- You aren’t addressing your weaknesses. What does the other party say about you? Do they say you drink too much? Are you too busy with your band? Do you struggle with anger issues? These examples, as well as many others, often serve as warnings to the court. Instead of just going back and forth with he said/she said and fighting against perceived injustices, just take away the concern. Go to therapy. Stop drinking. Take away the ammunition being used against you. This is a lot quicker and cheaper than fighting.
- You didn’t focus on the child. A lot of parents make the mistake of saying that they want more time simply because the parent wants more time. We understand this urge, however, focus your request on the child’s needs and not yours. For example, if you want more time with your son then couch it in terms of coaching his team or leading his cub scout troop. Focus on a reason why additional time with you would benefit the child. Maybe an extra day will decrease the exchanges between you and the other parent? Maybe more time offers more stability? Think in terms of how the extra time will benefit the child rather than you. that is what the court wants to hear. Remember…the Best Interests of the Child.