Child Visitation Guidelines

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Who Determines Child Visitation Guidelines?

If you are a parent of a minor child and are not married to, or in a long-term and co-habitating relationship with, the other parent, you probably still want to be involved in your child's life. However, if the other parent has custody of the child, this simple proposition can get very complicated very quickly. 

In an ideal case, the parents will be able to come to an agreement regarding child visitation on their own, without the need for a court to intervene. In some cases, though, the parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, and a court has to create a child visitation arrangement for them.

What Are the Types of Child Visitation Arrangements?

There are a few different types of child visitation setups. Generally, they can be broken down into unsupervised and supervised visitation. Unsupervised visitation is the most common, and is usually the most desirable arrangement. 

In unsupervised visitation, the visiting parent is allowed to spend a certain amount of time, usually a few days per week, with their children, without anybody's supervision. Obviously, this is what would seem most natural to the children, so it is the preferred arrangement.

However, if the parent has shown that they should not be trusted to be left alone with the child for whatever reason, but the child would still benefit from the parent's presence, a court will typically allow supervised visitation. This typically allows the parent to be with the child only in the presence of a court-approved supervisor. The expense associated with providing the supervisor usually must be borne by the parent.

Can the Visitation Schedule Change? 

Typically, some deviation is allowed from the visitation schedule to accommodate unforeseen events that make the non-custodial parent unable to visit on the scheduled date. Also, the custodial parent often has a great deal of discretion in allowing deviations from the schedule.

Should I Consult a Lawyer?

If you are a non-custodial parent, you will have to come to an agreement with the other parent concerning child visitation. To this end, finding a good family law attorney can be invaluable. In addition to helping you negotiate an agreeable arrangement with the other parent, he or she can help convince a court to grant you the best possible child visitation rights if an agreement cannot be reached.

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Last Modified: 04-16-2015 10:07 AM PDT

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