Visitation? Time-sharing? Why Not Memory Time?

In the course of handling numerous family law cases and mediating such cases for other attorneys, I talk with people who get hung up on the semantics of referring to time with the children as "visitation." Others hate to refer to it as "timesharing" or "parenting time." Arguments usually go something like, "I'm not a babysitter or some visitor, it should not be "visitation." Likewise, I hear, "My kids are not condos, why should it be called timesharing?" or "I don't stop being a parent just because I am not with my kids, why call it parenting time?" The fact of the matter is that in the event of a divorce or two-household (or more) family, the court has got to delineate how the child's time will be divided between (or among) the litigants. Moreover, other than whatever slight ego-bruise someone gets from whichever term the court uses, the main thing is that you get to spend time with your kids.

I was fortunate enough that my parents never got divorced (as a matter of fact come November they will celebrate forty-six years together). However, when I was about thirteen, my mom took a job that required her to work on Saturdays. Since I could not drive yet, this left me and my dad home by ourselves. It became a tradition that we would fix Polish sausage with grilled peppers & onions, watch old war movies or Westerns and discuss politics & history. My dad and I were pretty different when I was growing up. He was more of an outdoorsman, while I was more of bookworm and a geek (surprise!). Nevertheless, we found a way to connect in a way that really seemed kind of inconsequential at the time. Looking back on those times twenty-plus years later, those are some of my favorite memories. Just me & dad visiting together over lunch and old movies, sharing time, parent & child. I really don't care what you call the time we spent. To me, it was pretty awesome.