Whether a parent is in the beginning stages of a divorce, in the middle of a custody dispute, or are thinking about modifying a custody agreement, they almost always have the same question – how can I maximize the amount of time I will get to spend with my children? Of course, every case is unique, but experienced attorneys have some valuable advice that can apply to just about everyone.
Create a visitation plan that works
The best way to get a child custody or visitation plan that works for you is to help create it in tandem with the other parent. This encourages both cooperation and helps ensure you both get a mutually agreeable parenting plan. Once you come up with a parenting plan, you can each have your family law attorney review it and then submit it to the court to make it binding. If you and your co-parent are unable to come to agreement, you can also consider mediation or collaborative law to create your plan.
Find ways to maximize your parenting time
Because everyone’s life has last-minute changes, there may be times when your co-parent may be unavailable to care for the child at their scheduled time. You can incorporate things into your parenting agreement that allow you have right of first refusal, which requires your co-parent to reach out to you before asking a third party to care for the child. These types of provisions will give you extra time with your child, showing that they are always your first priority.
Be involved to the fullest extent
Ensure that you are already using your parenting time to the fullest. If you are permitted to text, call or video chat with your child, don’t miss any set appointments and make sure you’re checking in consistently. If you have visitation, be on time for pickup and drop-off, and don’t miss your visitation time unless absolutely necessary. Get involved in their academic life and extracurricular life – it is important that you are not just the “fun” parent.
Note: to modify a custody order in South Carolina, you must show or prove to the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last order.
Be a good co-parent
The courts like to see parents who present a united front, as parents who can communicate and cooperate provide a healthier environment for their children. Keeping the lines of communication open and showing that you are both willing to compromise goes a long way when seeking to secure more parenting time with your child.
Request an in-home custody evaluation
If you believe that your custody request or modification request will be denied, either because your co-parent is making allegations or for other reasons, you can get an in-home evaluation. This can help build a strong case on your behalf by proving both your parenting skills and that you can provide a safe, proper home for your child.
If you are interested in modifying your child custody agreement to spend more time with your child, Holland Law can help. We provide knowledgeable representation for parents in the York, Lancaster, and Chester County communities. To schedule a consultation in either our Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in our Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, please call 803-219-2630 or contact us online.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.