Ideally, the courts prefer for parents to try and make their own parenting plan and visitation schedule together. If both parents agree regarding visitation rights, the parents can submit the schedule for official court approval. As long as the visitation schedule will work for both the parents and child, the court will approve it, and it will become an enforceable court order.
Creating a visitation schedule
Creating a visitation schedule allows parents flexibility by taking the parents’ and children’s schedules into account. It is advisable to make sure the future is taken into account when creating a mutually agreeable parenting plan. Specific dates should be written down that specifies who will take care of the child on specific days. For example, include specific details such as who will take care of the child if he/she has an unexpected day off from school and how holidays and school vacations will be divided.
As children grow older, their needs will change, and those changes should be reflected in the visitation schedule agreement. As long as these types of changes are included, and both parties sign the agreement, they are enforceable just like your original order. This prevents the parents having to go back to court every time a change in visitation is desired.
Who approves the schedule?
The parent with physical custody has more control over duration of visits, dates and times. The parent with physical custody does not have a legal obligation to agree to any particular schedule, but the judge who handles the case will take note of each parents’ flexibility. If one parent is uncooperative, it can backfire when a request is made to the court for something in the future.
It is imperative that parents communicate and cooperate with one another on a frequent basis in order for the reasonable visitation approach to work. If one parent feels that a loosely defined reasonable visitation schedule will not work, then that parent can insist on a fixed schedule to save stress, time and money.
Changing the schedule
Parents change visitation schedules for many reasons, but often when the other parent does not follow the agreed upon schedule (such as picking up the kids, always being late, or not communicating with the other parent as to where the child will be going). Again, it is important to keep in mind that if the reasonable visitation approach is not working, it is possible to request that the court set a fixed schedule.
For help regarding your child’s visitation plan, contact our Visitation Rights Attorney at (951)222-2228 to make a personalized plan that best suits your child’s needs.