If you're in the middle of a custody battle which has resulted in you spending very little time with your child, you may be concerned with how your child will react to spending time with you after the dispute is over. Whether the lack of visitation was your doing or not, there is a way that you can become more involved in your child's life without causing them unnecessary trauma. Consider step-up parenting plans.
What are Step-Up Parenting Plans?
Step-up parenting plans are visitation schedules which slowly increase the length of time that a child spends with their estranged parent.
There are a number of variations of step-up parenting plans, and the right one for your case will depend on a number of factors, including your child's age and the distance between you and your child. If, for example, your child was raised solely by their other parent for the first 9 months of their life, you may only start with two hour visits once or twice per week. On the other hand, if the child is older and better able to cope with and understand the changes, you may start with five or six hour visitations once or twice per week.
When are Step-Up Parenting Plans a Good Idea?
There are a number of reasons why your family law attorney may be suggesting you consider a step-up parenting plan.
A step-up parenting plan can be used to show the judge that you take your time with your child seriously, even if you weren't part of your child's life before. Perhaps you were unaware that you had a child up until this point, or maybe you were unable to visit with your child due to parental alienation. Whatever the case may be, if you've been unable to spend significant amounts of time with your child until now, a step-up parenting plan can be a good option, both for your sake and the child's.
How Can a Step-Up Plan Help?
While step-up parenting plans are a great way to get previously uninvolved parents involved with their child's care, they can also be extremely beneficial to the child.
If a parent has been largely uninvolved in their child's life, whether it was their own doing or not, suddenly forcing lengthy visitation between the parent and child can be frightening and cause unnecessary stress and trauma. With a step-up parenting plan, your child can slowly become accustomed to you in the least traumatic way. This will help you to bond with your child in a healthy way and ensure that your relationship starts out on the right foot.
An experienced attorney can ensure that you get the parenting time you deserve. If you've been denied visitation with your child, it's time to consult with a family law attorney, such as those at Johnson Law Office, PLLC, about different options you can explore.