Divorce and Child Visitation

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It is the responsibility of each parent to prioritize visitation time with his/her child. Every parent must ascertain that the visitation is completely painless for the child. It has been observed in a majority of cases that visitation enhances the child's sense of family. However, sometimes it may result in strife. In case of visitation, a factor of utmost importance is the attitude of the parent. It is recommended that adults should behave as adults and permit their child to be a child.

Provisions in Divorce and Child Visitation

Both the non custodial parent (NCP) as well as the custodial parent (CP) should understand that the following fundamental provisions are generally made in any visitation arrangement.

  • The child celebrates his/her birthday with each parent every alternate year (i.e. if the 6th birthday with the father, then the 7th birthday with the mother and so on)
  • Father's Day should be spent with father and Mother's Day with the mother
  • The explanation of alternate year arrangement explained in case of birthday also applies to the following holidays
    • Christmas
    • Thanksgiving
    • Yom Kippur
    • Rosh Hashanah
    • Easter
    • New Year's Eve
  • The duration of school recesses in summer, spring and winter is spent with each parent in a 50:50 ratio
  • The non custodial parent is offered mid-week visitation
  • There is alternate weekend visitation with the NCP
  • If an emergency situation props up, then the other parent should be willing to manage temporary physical custody of the child
  • Both the father and the mother must mutually accede to exchange a few days of visitations here and there. For this, there must not be any need for modification of the court order
  • The parent, not having physical custody of the child, must have the option of open and frequent telephone contact with the child

Development of Divorce and Child Visitation

The parents have the option to develop the visitation plan. However, such a plan needs to be approved by the family law judge. The judge approves the plan only when it serves the best interests of the child.

The parents can undergo a process called mediation. During this, the parents talk with a neutral third-party mediator. This discussion may be done separately with each parent or jointly with both. The mediator is a person who has special training in helping the parents regarding development of a visitation plan. The objective of this process is that the parents must accede to a mutual plan without approaching the court. Again, the family court ratifies this plan only if it is in the best interests of the child.

If both the above 2 methods fail, the court intervenes in the development of a plan. Usually, the court permits the NCP to have considerable amount of time with the child. For this, the court orders that some holidays, some weekdays and every alternate weekend of the child must be spent with the NCP. Undoubtedly, the court has the best interests of the child in mind.

In some cases, adults like step-parents and grandparents are also bestowed visitation rights.

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