If the parents of a child decide to separate, the parents or a court must decide with whom the child will live the majority of the time. This is referred to as the “custodial parent.” The other parent, who typically pays child support, is the “noncustodial parent.”
Florida family courts understand the positive emotional and psychological impact that meaningful relationship with both parents has on a child. They may order reasonable visitation for the non-custodial parent. Here’s what you should know about it.
The Definition of Reasonable Visitation
The term “reasonable visitation” is defined as visitation that isn’t necessarily split equally between two parents but is still fair for the non-custodial parent. Children typically benefit substantially from having a relationship with each of their parents, and courts strive to ensure that this is maintained throughout the child’s life up until adulthood.
Sometimes, reasonable visitation may mean little or no visitation at all. For example, a parent who was just released from corrections or incarceration may only be allowed supervised visitation. Or, a parent who has a past record of being abusive or violent in the home may not be allowed visitation.
How Reasonable Visitation Is Designed to Work
Whenever possible, you should attempt to agree on a visitation schedule with your ex that works for each of you, as well as your child. Plan around your child’s educational and extracurricular activities, as well as your work schedules. Include provisions for holidays and special events, and look for ways the schedule can give your child safety and stability.
What Happens If You Can’t Agree on Visitation?
When you and your ex aren’t able to agree on a visitation schedule that works for your family, this means your custody case is contested and must be litigated. You and your ex will appear in court, where a judge will make the decision for you what your visitation schedule should look like.
The most common visitation schedule used by family courts is visitation with the non-custodial parent every other weekend, plus two weeks during the year. If the child is in school, this is typically during the summer. Alternating holidays are also usually awarded to non-custodial parents as well.
Why You Need an Okaloosa Family Lawyer to Help
Child custody cases can be complicated, especially if you and your ex cannot reach an agreement about visitation. It’s important to work with an experienced Florida family law attorney who can represent the rights and best interests of you and your child. Call T. Martin Knopes today at (850) 683-0700.