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If you are a non-custodial parent, you may be given visitation rights to see your child. In family law, visitation refers to the period of time that parents get to spend with their child. Visitation is important because parents need to be able to spend enough quality time with their child to form a strong bond and stay engaged in their life. If you are struggling to obtain the visitation time you need, you are recommended to talk to a family lawyer to discuss how you can achieve a fair schedule.

Who gets visitation rights? 

In a child custody case, both parents have the right to see their child. If sole physical custody is awarded to one parent, then the other parent is given visitation rights. In a joint physical custody case, visitation works differently. It is not always a 50/50 split between each parent, because realistically an event split is not feasible. The child usually ends up spending more time with one parent. A number of factors go into deciding a visitation order, such as the parent’s living situation and child’s wellbeing. 

Who determines visitation?

Both parents create a parenting plan that explains how major decisions will be made regarding the child’s best interest. Visitation rights are addressed in the plan, and the custodial parent has the authority to finalize approval. It is not required to decide visitation through a court order. However, if both parents cannot come to an agreement, a judge will determine the final arrangement in court. 

What if I don’t agree with the schedule? 

You have a number of options if you do not agree with the visitation schedule. You would have to either go to a mediator or appear in court again if you would like to request a change. The parents have to appear before a judge and make their case. After hearing both arguments, the judge will then propose an updated visitation order that they have to agree to. 

Are visitation schedules fixed? 

Visitation schedules are not permanent and can change at the discretion of a judge. It can be a lengthy and expensive process to continually ask for a visitation schedule to be revised. For the child’s sake, both parents should find a way to come up with a fair visitation schedule so major changes don’t have to be made. 

Schedule a Consultation

Request a risk-free consultation with a family lawyer if you need assistance with visitation rights.