Visitation FAQ

What does reasonable visitation mean?

When a court determines the visitation rights of a noncustodial parent, it usually orders visitation at reasonable times and places, leaving it to the parents to work out a more precise schedule. Reasonable visitation allows the parents to exercise flexibility by taking into consideration both the parents' and the children's schedules. Practically speaking, however, the parent with physical custody has more control over the dates, times and duration of visits. He or she isn't legally obligated to agree to any particular schedule.

For the reasonable visitation approach to succeed, the parents must cooperate and communicate with each other frequently. If you suspect right off the bat that reasonable visitation won't work, insist on a fixed schedule (see below) and save yourself time, angst, and possibly money. If you've already agreed to reasonable visitation and it isn't working out -- for example, one parent is consistently late, skips scheduled visits or doesn't inform the other parent where he or she is planning on taking the children -- you can go back to court and ask that the arrangement be changed.

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What is a fixed visitation schedule?

Sometimes courts ordering custody and visitation for children set up schedules, including the times and places for visitation with the non-custodial parent, such as every other weekend or Tuesday and Thursday evenings. A court will be inclined to order a fixed schedule especially if the hostility between the parents is so severe that the constant contact between them may be of detriment to the child.

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What is supervised visitation?

Supervised visitation means that the non-custodial parent may not spend time alone with the child. It usually also means that the non-custodial parent may visit the child at a particular time and in a particular place, typically a neutral location. An adult (other than the custodial parent) must be present at all times during the visit. The adult may be known or unknown to the child, and may be someone agreed upon by the parents or appointed by the court. No matter how the adult is chosen, he must be approved by the court ordering the supervised visitation.

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What are monitored exchange sites?

Monitored exchange sites are places where parents can arrange to exchange their children at a safe and monitored (public) location.

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Are visitation rights contingent on the payment of child support?

No. Visitation rights may not be denied to the non-custodial parent, even though the non-custodial parent is not paying child support.

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