Being told by the court that you can only see your child so many hours per month is upsetting for many parents. Whether you are the mother or the father, you can take steps to secure more parenting time with your children. The most important thing to remember is that you should always be polite and honest with the other parent, with the other parent’s lawyer, the judge, and anyone else assigned to the case.
It’s challenging to be a parent and only have access to your child for a few hours per week or maybe every other weekend. You will need to prove to the court with the help of a Knoxville family law attorney, that you deserve more parenting time by showing improvement in your personal life, that you have a place to live, and that you are employed.
Be as involved as possible
The most important aspect of your relationship with your children that a judge will want to see is your involvement with them. Did the custody agreement permit electronic communication with the children? If so, have you used email, texting, and phone calls to speak to your children at least a couple times per week, if not daily?
When your children experience conflicts with their other parent, do you help the other parent by providing a unified front? Do you encourage your children to get along with the other parent? Do you reinforce the rules the other parent has set when the children are staying with you?
There’s more to being involved with your children than just these items. Other ways you can be involved include:
- Attend school events (plays, concerts, games, presentations, teacher conferences, etc.)
- Take the children to doctor’s appointments
- Pick up and drop off the children at school based on a schedule with the other parent
- Help with homework and projects
- Take the children to the playground, to shop for new clothes, and eat meals together
Avoid negativity around the children
Do everything possible to avoid negativity around your children. Even if you don’t agree with things the other parent does or says, you should never exhibit your frustration in front of the children. Never badmouth the other parent around the children. Instead, always show support of the other parent. When you can prove that you’ve been supportive of the other parent, the judge might grant you extra parenting time with your children.
Take advantage of scheduled visits
Do your best to take advantage of scheduled visits with your children, including the weekends they are slated to stay with you. The more often you miss scheduled visits or back out of having the kids stay with you, the less likely it will be that the judge will side with you in granting additional parenting time.
When you do have time with your children, have fun. Don’t just sit around the house all weekend. If the kids have to do homework or projects while with you, make sure you get all of that done first and don’t leave it for when the children return to the other parent. Go to the park, have a picnic, go to the zoo, ride bikes, and enjoy each other’s company as much as possible.
Keep a journal of time spent with your children
If you like to write things down, keeping a journal of the time spent with your children will make it much easier to show the family law judge what you’ve been able to do with your time. A journal, which should be kept consistently, can help the court determine the following:
- How much time you spend with your children
- The consistency of the time spent
- The increase in time you have requested
- If there were any incidents prior to, during, or after spending time with your children
Don’t lie about parenting time in the journal. It’s not a legal document, but being caught in a lie with the journal will cause the judge to question what else you’ve lied about regarding time spent with your children.
Are you looking to increase the parenting time you have with your children? Meeting with an experienced Knoxville family law attorney from LaFevor & Slaughter can help build a case to present to the family court judge showing why you deserve the additional time. Call our office at (865) 637-6258, or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation today.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.
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