Do you need to set up a visitation schedule for your children? If you can’t agree on a visitation schedule, the court will have to step in and create one. Below are some of the factors the court will use to create the schedule.
The Child’s Age
The child’s age matters for two main reasons. First, some parents exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first few months after delivery. If the mother has elected exclusive breastfeeding, then the other parent cannot stay with the child for too long. In such a case, the visiting schedule must not interfere with the infant’s feeding habits.
Secondly, courts may consider the opinion of older children to determine a reasonable visitation schedule.
The Parents’ Work Schedules
The child’s wellbeing is the main factor that courts consider during visitation deliberations. Minors depend on their parents for financial support. If the parents work, they can’t spend all the time with their children because they must also work. Thus, courts are usually flexible enough to consider parents’ work schedules.
Consider a case where a parent has a tight work schedule and cannot get time to see their child during the weekdays. If the parent is free over the weekends, the court may allow the parent visitation over the weekends.
The Parents’ Residences
The court will also consider where both parents live. Your respective residences matter because they determine:
- How much you spend to see your child
- How practical it is for you to see the child regularly
- How long you can stay with the child each time you visit
For example, the court may grant frequent visitations if both parents reside in the same neighborhood. However, frequent visitations (for example, every other day) might not be feasible if you live thousands of miles apart.
The Relationship With the Child
The relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child also matters. Specifically, the court will look at the history of the interaction between the two. The court will do its best to maintain the status quo. Preserving the existing relationship helps to limit the effect of the divorce on the child.
Say you used to go fishing with your child every other weekend, and the other parent has physical custody of the child. The court may come up with a visitation schedule that allows you to maintain your weekend outings.
The History of Abuse
A history of abuse will have a big impact on a visitation schedule. The court will do its best to reduce the risk of abuse and protect the child. For example, the court may:
- Limit the frequency of the visitations
- Limit the duration of each visitation
- Determine the location of the visitations
For example, if a history of abuse exists, the court may not allow the noncustodial parent to be alone with the child. The court may confine the visitation to the custodial parent’s home and order supervised visitation.
The Child’s Special Needs or Interests
Lastly, the court will also consider the child’s special needs or interests that might affect the visitation schedule. For example, the courts might consider:
- After-school programs that the child must attend regularly
- Physical or mental disabilities that affect the child’s socialization
- Talents that the child needs to nurture
Remember, the goal here is to come up with a visitation schedule that best fits the child — the parents’ needs are secondary.
Divorce is difficult. Don’t just hire a lawyer who understands the law — hire a lawyer who listens to and cares for their client’s wellbeing. The Law Offices of Lynda Latta LLC can help you create a visitation schedule that works for both of you. Contact us today so that we can determine the best way to help you.