Parents who exercise their child visitation rights often expect a particular outcome. If their expectations are realistic, the outcome may not be a surprise. However, if they expect to see their children every day, they may be very disappointed. This leads to the question of how much visitation to expect. There is no universal answer to this question but understanding the reasoning behind this can make visitation decisions easier to accept.
Child custody decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. However, when judges grant visitation to non-custodial parents, they may only require “reasonable visitation.” On the surface, this term is not very explanatory. It means that the parents must decide on a parental visitation plan. If parents can cooperate, this allows them to draft an arrangement that accommodates their schedules.
In reality, the custodial parent generally has more influence over the dates and times of visitation. This parent is not legally required to agree to a proposed visitation schedule. However, coming to a mutually agreeable arrangement is in the best interests of both parents. This prevents the judge from having any negative information on which to base future decisions.
If parents cannot agree on a visitation schedule, a child visitation lawyer may help them develop a solution. If this does not work, the lawyer will request that the judge issue a fixed visitation schedule. This schedule will remain in place until one or both parents request a different arrangement based on their parental visitation rights. Issues like past harm or abuse by the non-custodial parent should be mentioned to the court before a visitation decision is rendered.
With a fixed visitation schedule, the judge orders the times and, possibly, the places where visitation will occur. If abuse was an issue in the past, the court may require that visitation be supervised by a third party. A fixed visitation schedule helps parents who cannot cooperate and provides stability for children during an otherwise confusing time. Both parents are legally bound to the schedule and should bring any deviance to the attention of a child visitation lawyer.
Many factors affect visitation so retaining a child visitation lawyer can be helpful. Clients will learn about their rights to visitation, how to negotiate with the other parent, and when the issue should be turned over to a court. Being informed and approaching the situation from the proper perspective can make the outcome more positive for all involved.