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All You Need to Know About Changing Visitation Schedules

All You Need to Know About Changing Visitation Schedules

All You Need to Know About Changing Visitation Schedules: Tips for Parents

Divorce can be a challenging time, especially for parents and children. One of the most significant challenges for divorced parents is establishing and maintaining a visitation schedule that works for everyone involved. However, sometimes circumstances change, and parents may need to alter their visitation schedule. In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of changing visitation schedules and provide tips for parents on how to navigate this process.

Why Change Visitation Schedules?

There are several reasons why divorced parents may need to change their visitation schedule. These include:

– A change in work schedules or job responsibilities
– One parent moving to a different city or state
– A child’s schedule changes due to school or extracurricular activities
– A child’s needs or medical conditions change
– A change in family dynamics, such as the arrival of a new step-parent or sibling

Tips for Changing Visitation Schedules

1. Communicate with the Other Parent

The most crucial step in changing visitation schedules is to communicate with the other parent. Both parents must be involved in the process, and communication is key to reaching a mutual agreement. Approach the other parent respectfully and provide reasons why the schedule needs to be adjusted. If there is conflict or disagreement, consider working with a mediator or consultant to help facilitate the conversation.

2. Put Your Child First

When considering a change to the visitation schedule, it’s essential to put your child’s needs first. Consider their schedule, school activities, and extracurricular activities when creating a new visitation schedule. It’s important to keep the child’s routine as consistent as possible and ensure that they have adequate time with both parents.

3. Work with an Attorney

In some cases, changing the visitation schedule can become complicated and emotional. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that the process moves forward smoothly. An attorney can provide guidance on legal requirements, help establish a revised visitation schedule, and negotiate with the other parent on your behalf.

4. Be Flexible

It’s vital to be flexible when changing visitation schedules. Set realistic expectations and be willing to compromise with the other parent. It’s essential to keep in mind that the objective is to establish a schedule that works for everyone, including the child.


Changing a visitation schedule can be a complex and emotional process during divorce, but it’s essential to make sure that the schedule works for everyone involved. By communicating effectively with the other parent, putting the child first, working with an attorney and being flexible, parents can create a visitation schedule that works for everyone involved. Remember, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the child has continued, healthy relationships with both parents.

Changing Visitation Schedules

When a couple with children divorces, there are many legal considerations that they have.

Child custody and visitation are two issues that a parent must face when divorcing their spouse. As the children grow up or if the parent’s schedules change, there may be a need to change the visitation schedule that is in place.

While it can be difficult, it is very common for parents to change visitation schedules around, in order to suit the changing needs of their children or themselves.

Even if the parents are in complete agreement with the new schedule, a petition to change the visitation schedule must be filed in family court before it is legally binding.

Contact a child visitation lawyer to review your case.

Who To Contact and Where To File a Motion:

Filing a motion through a local family court is necessary to request a change in one’s current child visitation schedule.

However, the first thing one should do if they wish to change their child’s visitation schedule is try to have a conversation about it with their ex-spouse.

If two parents do not get along, this may be difficult. However, the cooperation of the other parent will make the process run smoother and it is worth it to give it a try.

If an agreement can be reached then the parents should draw up a contract together and have it notarized.

Although this does not make the proposed new visitation schedule legally binding, the courts will not be likely to argue against an agreed on plan unless they think that the child will not benefit from it.

Whether or not the couple can reach an agreement, they must file a motion to have the visitation changed with their local family court county clerk. The parent will not be given a court date until their motion is on file with their local family court.

Complete Paperwork, File With Clerk and Have Papers Served:

A parent must draw up their own petition to submit to the local family court. The petition should include the names and ages of the children, along with the reason for the requested schedule change.

The parent filing the motion must make sure that the other parent is properly served with the legal papers. The other parent has a right to know when any change in visitation is requested.

Even if the parents have officially agreed on a schedule, the parent who is not filing the motion must be served with paperwork detailing the date and time of the court appearance that is necessary.

A representative of the court can serve the other parent with the legal papers. So can a regular individual.

The quicker an individual files their motion to change visitation, the quicker the judge can review the case.

After the other parent is served with the legal papers, it is their responsibility to show up on time for the visitation hearing.

If they want to fight the change in custody and they do not show up for the hearing, the court may automatically grant the new requested schedule to the parent who asked for it.

Present Papers In Court:

A parent must have good reasons for wanting to change a visitation schedule. It might be at the child’s request because the visits conflict with other obligations.

It may be due to a mandatory change in a parent’s work schedule.

However, no matter what the reason is for the requested change in the visitation schedule, the courts will usually not allow it if they think that the new schedule will be deferential to a child’s well being.

Proving that the new schedule will be in the child’s best interest and is key to being granted the change.

Any paperwork that one gets to support this claim can be used as proof and presented in court.

For instance, if the child has requested the change and is old enough, a letter written to the judge with the reasons listed for the request may go a long way in convincing the court that the new schedule would benefit the child.

If a parent has a new work schedule, a letter from their place of employment may help prove the validity of their request.

Visitation Contempt:

It is hard to get a noncustodial parent in trouble for not taking advantage of visitation since they are not legally required to.

However, if the parents have set up a visitation schedule in family court, that is a legal court order that is supposed to be complied with.

If the noncustodial parent violates that court order, then they are legally in contempt of court.

Before rushing into a legal battle, the custodial parent should try to speak with the noncustodial parent about the lack of visitation.

Many times a noncustodial parent will refuse to visit with their child, as a way of hurting their ex-spouse.

The custodial parent should try to explain that the noncustodial parent is only hurting the child in the long run. Finding out if the visitation schedule is a problem for the noncustodial parent may help as well.

The problem may be able to be solved, by changing the visitation schedule. However, if a conversation between the parents is impossible or does not work, it will be time to involve the courts.

The custodial parent should file a motion to charge their ex-spouse with contempt of court, for not following the court order.

Both parents have the right to appear in court and the judge will usually make a decision soon after.

The court may decide that the noncustodial parent will be punished by being granted a limited visitation schedule with their child. Other punishments include parenting classes, community service, jail time and paying for the custodial parent’s legal fees.

However, it is very difficult to force a noncustodial parent to take advantage of the visitation schedule they have with their child.