In general, there are some guidelines, according to the Oklahoma Bar Association, that parents should follow, which are known as the “Ten Commandments” for parental moral conduct. For example, parents should avoid bad-mouthing their exes to their children, which may worry a child or make the child feel like he or she must take sides. Similarly, arguing during visitation drop-offs or pick-ups should be avoided.
Visitations should occur at reasonable hours so the child can make the most of the time with his or her other parent. If, for some reason, a parent has to miss a visitation period, this fact should be communicated well in advance in order to avoid disappointing the child. If changes in visitation rights need to be made, it is important for parents to try to work together and come up with a visitation schedule that meets the child’s needs. In addition, a parent should make the most of his or her visitation time by focusing solely on the child, without making unreasonable promises or interrogating the child about the other parent’s life. Furthermore, the parent with whom the child resides should prepare the child for visitation periods with the other parent, so that the child is ready and available when the visitation period is to occur.
Additionally, it typically is wise to avoid quickly introducing a child to a person whom a parent is dating post-divorce or for a parent to visit children while under the influence of alcohol. In the end, both parents should honor the child’s best interests in terms of his or her emotional, spiritual and physical health.
It is important for parents to remember that they are both responsible for helping their children work through the divorce process. Parents who can work together can often make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. Doing so can help both the child and their parents make the most of their time together.