Last Updated: December 6, 2022

Many parents disagree on various things during a divorce and child visitation (also known as ‘Parenting Time’) is a big one. Each parent may want to spend as much time as possible with the children. Many parents have similar work schedules, which makes it difficult to enforce the maximum visitation rights of one without being detrimental to the other. Because of this, visitation schedule problems can become all too common of an occurrence. This is where speaking with a divorce lawyer (for a free consultation here!) is important. Parents need to understand how the specific laws will affect their personal situation.

Child Visitation Schedule Problems: The Parenting Plan

Child custody arrangements typically include a visitation schedule (parenting schedule) that details the place, time, and manner that an exchange in child custody will take place. The child goes from custody of one parent to that of the other. The parenting schedule outlines the times that each parent will have the children with them. Visitation schedule problems occur when there isn’t a detailed plan put in writing and entered by a judge.

Parenting schedules are typically broken out into weekdays, weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. It may also include special situations such as the illness of the child or the parent taking on visitation. Having a good parenting agreement helps to avoid visitation problems right off the bat! That isn’t to say that parenting issues can’t and won’t still come up, but the point is to limit it as much as possible.

Negotiating a Parenting Schedule

Making a parenting schedule (also called a “custody judgment” or “allocation judgment”) may sound simple to develop, but for many parents, that is far from the case. Both parents may want to have custody on a particular holiday, weekend, or even a certain day of the week. This is where visitation problems begin. A child visitation lawyer has experience with handling disagreements regarding visitation schedules. He or she understands how to steer the discussion to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. And if the parties are unable to come to an agreement, court intervention might be the only logical next step.

Disagreement on Parenting Time = Visitation Problems

When determining child visitation, a family court judge will first consider the “best interests of the child.” This is a legal standard and it has multiple factors that, when looked at as a whole, help a judge to make a determination as to what is best for the child. The point of a judge deciding the best interests of the child is to avoid visitation schedule problems both now and long into the future.

Common “Best Interests of the Child” Factors

  • The Relationship Between Parent and Child
    • Kids fight with their parents, sometimes with one parent more than the other. This factor primarily only matters in situations where there could be issues between parent/child that are serious in nature and not just a child being broody.
  • Stability
    • This is a huge factor. It means various things, such as having a stable living environment and not constantly moving every year or two. It also means being able to keep the kids in their same school district and in their same neighborhood (assuming it is a good school and safe neighborhood).
  • Relationship Between the Parents
    • People split up and get divorced, so there is clearly some issue between the parents. However, the important thing here is that the parents exhibit an ability and history of cooperating for their child’s best interests (even if the parents don’t get along). If a parent proves that he or she is unwilling to work with and cooperate with he other parent to continue to foster a relationship between child/other parent, a judge will look unfavorably on that parent.
  • Ability to Care for Child / Meet the Child’s Needs
    • A parent needs to be able to provide adequate shelter in a clean home and provide food and clothing for a child. Without these essentials, a parent stands no chance of any type of significant custody or parenting time.
  • Mental and Physical Health of the Parents
    • Mental health issues no longer have the stigma that once existed. However, if mental health conditions by one parent are out of control and not being treated, the other parent stands a better chance at getting what they want. The same goes for physical health. A parent that has certain disabilities might not be able to properly care for a child on their own, and accommodation likely need to be made for the child.

Modifying a Parenting Plan

Visitation schedule problems frequently occur after a parenting plan is in place where one parent wants to change the agreement or schedule. At a certain point, one parent may seek additional rights for visitation with the children or maybe just something different (perhaps a work schedule changes his or her days off). If the other parent opposes the petition, he or she can explain this at the court hearing or may choose to be represented by a child visitation lawyer. Either way, the goal is to draft a custody and visitation agreement that meets the needs of both parents without unduly hurting either one.

Next Steps

Spending time with children is important and visitation helps make this happen. Divorcing parents should be aware of their rights regarding visitation and parenting time and should attempt to work out a visitation schedule. Visitation schedule problems will occur, it is naïve to think otherwise. However, with a skilled attorney (that offers free consultations here!) and a detailed parenting plan, visitation problems can be virtually eliminated or extreme rare.

About The Author

6 thoughts on “Can a Lawyer Help with Visitation Schedule Problems?”

  1. Heart Broken Dad

    I am a divorced father of two elementary aged boys. Since the divorce, their mother has remarried and moved 900 miles away. The current visitation agreement has them with me for Christmas vacation, April vacation, and 6 consecutive weeks during the summer. While this is a lot of time, it is not enough. I believe that, as their father, they should be able to see me everyday. But that isn’t the issue. The issue is that she is always hindering my visitation time and my phone time with them stating that “they don’t want to talk to you.” It is obvious to me that they aren’t going to want to talk to me while she is there talking negative about me all of the time. Does it make sense to file a motion to compel? She failed to allow my mother to exercise my time in my absence during the summer last year and has stated that she isn’t going to allow the full April vacation this year. Do I have enough ammo to file in contempt?

    1. Contempt is a difficult situation. If she moved 900 miles away, was this a violation of the original court order or did you agree to allow her to move that far away? If not, she is in violation right there. On top of that, if she is interfering with your regular and telephone visitation than yes, you can file for contempt. Depending what state you are in it will be a Petition for Rule to Show Cause and/or a Petition for Adjudication of Indirect Civil Contempt. Get an attorney to help–its really the only way to protect your rights in the proper manner.

  2. I need to know where to get stared on the vistitans on my son I have him full time so the dad want rights so what do I do I want parper on fill. Of the rights

    1. Getting a parenting agreement properly prepared regarding visitation rights of your child is an important thing to do. One of the most important things to do is to find out what you are willing to accept as far as time your child s father can spend with your child, and then trying to work that agreement out with him. A child custody attorney will help to prepare a parenting agreement that works for you. Map out a plan that works for you and contact a child custody attorney to memorialize it and enter it with the court!

      1. Hi, I am in a tuff situation, have a court date coming up in a few weeks. I am trying so get visitation with my kids whom I pay child support for, their mother is making it very difficult for me to see them under conditions she drew up. They have to be supervised and only with one certain person. I will be representing myself as I cannot afford an attorney. Please, is it possible for an attorney to prepare a parenting agreement so I can present to the judge?

        1. Many attorneys will do this, but the problem arises where the judge only likes part of the agreement and changes need to be made. Speak with an expert for free here on our site with your details. Telling the judge that your situation is tough without specific examples is a sure fire way to lose. Be as detailed as possible, but do not ramble on about things unrelated to the issue of you spending more time with your kids–do not stray off that exact direct topic!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protect Your Rights

We know you need support and we are here to help! Our team of attorneys and skilled professionals have helped thousands of customers secure their rights and we can do the same for you.

Call Now
Free Case Review
Scroll to Top