Child Visitation Schedule

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What is a Child Visitation Schedule?

A child visitation schedule is a court order that sets out guidelines regarding a parent’s rights to visit their child.  This is usually necessary whenever the court sets up a child custody order, and is common in many divorce cases.  Visitation allows a non-custodial parent to spend time with their child or children on a regular basis.  The visitation schedule sets the terms under which the parent can visit with their child. 

What is Contained in a Child Visitation Schedule?

A visitation schedule may address the following matters:

Are All Child Visitation Schedules Enforceable?

Not all visitation schedules are immediately enforceable.  They generally have to be issued and approved by a judge in order to be enforceable under law.  Thus, if the parents have been in the habit of following a visitation arrangement, but they have not obtained a court order for the arrangement, they would have a difficult time enforcing the terms.  An exception to this is where the parents have actually written a legal contract regarding the visitation.

Thus, it’s always advisable for the parents to seek a visitation schedule order from the court, so that the terms are legally enforceable and clear for each party. 

What if a Child Visitation Schedule Has Been Violated?

One of the main concerns with visitation is the safety of the child.  If the visitation schedule is not followed, it could jeopardize the child’s safety.  It can also lead to some negative consequences for the violating parent. 

For instance, if the parent does not return the child to the custodial parent at the arranged time, it could lead to serious consequences.  These can include a loss of visitation rights, a contempt order, or even criminal consequences.  Another common violation is withholding visitation when the other parent is entitled to it.  Due to the serious consequences that can result from a violation, court-ordered visitation schedules must be followed at all times. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Child Visitation Schedule?

Child visitation schedules can be complex and generally require the assistance of a lawyer.  It’s in your best interests to hire a qualified family law attorney in your area if you need help with these matters.  Your lawyer can advise you in court and can provide you with guidance throughout the whole process.

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Last Modified: 03-11-2013 04:23 PM PDT

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