When you get a divorce, it's easy to think you're only separating from your spouse. In reality, other family members may also be negatively impacted by the split. In particular, your ex's parents may be emotionally crushed by the breakup if it means they can no longer see the grandchildren due to the custody arrangement. Although you may be feeling quite a bit of antipathy towards your ex, ensuring your children maintain a relationship with their grandparents is important to their emotional and mental health. Here are a couple of tips for discussing a visitation schedule with your ex-in-laws.
Discuss the Conditions First
Before you talk about a visitation schedule, you need to discuss your concerns about the kids visiting your ex-in-laws. This is particularly important if you and your ex split because of domestic or sexual abuse issues. If your ex is barred from seeing the kids because of harmful acts he or she committed when the two of you were together, you need to ensure your ex's parents fully understand they are responsible for keeping their son or daughter away from the kids while the children are visiting them.
If you're worried your ex's parents will still let your ex see the kids despite your or the court's restrictions, you can require the visits be supervised by a neutral third party until you feel comfortable leaving the kids alone with your ex's parents.
Other important issues to discuss include how the kids should be disciplined, what medical decisions can be made in an emergency, and whether or not they can take the kids out of town.
Negotiating a Visitation Schedule
The prevailing motivation in these negotiations is what is in the best interests of the children. While it's great your ex's parents want to see the kids every day, for example, this may not be an ideal schedule if it negatively impacts the kids' education or interferes with your parenting time.
Start by listening to your ex's parent's request. Many times what the grandparents ask for won't be unreasonable. For instance, they may only want to see the kids once per month or have them spend holiday vacations at their place.
If the request is excessive or inconvenient, though, don't be afraid to decline and clearly explain why. Counter with an alternative that may better fit your and their needs. For instance, the grandparents ask to see the kids every other weekend. You could explain that you're concerned such frequent visits may interfere with the kids' schoolwork and offer to let the children stay with the grandparents over winter and spring break instead.
If negotiations stall or breakdown completely, consider having a mediator help you come to an agreement. Your divorce attorney may be able to help you with this issue or, at the very least, recommend a reputable person.
Negotiation a visitation schedule with your ex's parents can be challenging. However, approaching the issue with empathy and a strong sense of what's best for the kids can help you reach a satisfactory agreement with your ex-in-laws. For assistance with this issue, contact a divorce attorney, like http://www.bala-law.com.