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The Path To Expanding Your Parenting Time

By | - February 11, 2023

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

For many of our clients, the road to increased parenting time is a long one.

Parenting time is the schedule according to which each parent spends time with their children after separation that parents agree to or a judge decides. No matter what stage you are at in your separation and divorce process, these tips will not only help you achieve increased parenting time but also improve the quality of your time with your children.

Things to do during parenting time:

1) Be your best parenting self during your parenting time

If ever there was a time to shine, this is it. Be a parent, not a friend. Be a role model. Plan meaningful activities and outings, while establishing routines and rules. Plan a playdate with a friend from their school or neighborhood. Make the time count.

2) Do the heavy lifting of parenting

By this we mean: taking responsibility for wake-up and bedtime routines, meal prep and meal times, daycare or school drop-offs and pick-ups, attendance at medical appointments/school events/extra-curricular, coordinating activities, etc. It’s never too late to start.

3) Build your dream team

Consider a parenting coach or therapist equipped to tackle parenting problem-solving and issues related to your separation/divorce. Families In Transition is an excellent option. Ask yourself, who might assist you with parenting advice, if needed? 

4) Build your reputation and look good on paper

Attend parenting workshops, separation/divorce workshops, anger management courses, parenting coaching and therapy. Not only will it amp up your skills… it will also raise your credibility. You may never come before a judge but, if you do, you will now have a big opportunity to demonstrate that you’re a committed parent. Create an impressive paper trail for court, if that is where your case is heading. 

Use BIFF (Brief, Informative, Firm and Friendly) communication with your co-parent (How To Write A BIFF Response). Consider it the gateway to a positive co-parenting relationship.

Things to not do during parenting time:

1) Consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs for 12 hours before or during your parenting time.

2) Smoke or vape during your parenting time.

3) Expose your children to scary experiences (e.g., interpersonal conflict, car rage, arguments, abusive language, music with swear words, horror movies).

4) Buy their affection: your children want a connection with you, and no amount of ‘stuff’ will buy that.

5) Be late for pick-up or drop-off.

6) Fight with your children.

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