Home Court Role in Visitation Schedules

Court Role in Visitation Schedules

What Are Court Ordered Visitation Schedule

What Are Court Ordered Visitation Schedule


Parents each have visitation rights when it comes to parenting their children. When a couple divorces, unless they have joint custody of their children, there will be one custodial parent and one non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent will usually have visitation rights through a visitation order that allows them to see their children. There are many issues that may arise when a couple is following a visitation order. When a couple cannot work past their differences, the court steps in to help determine what visitation rights are fair. Consult a child visitation lawyer to review your case.

While the family courts prefer that parents devise their own visitation order, they recognize that the animosity that parents may have for each other can make that impossible. If the child's parents cannot decide on a mutually accepted visitation schedule, then a court-ordered visitation order is created by the family court. While the court tries to satisfy the non-custodial parent's visitation rights, a court-ordered visitation order sets up a schedule that parents often disagree with. This often leads to later disputes about the court-ordered visitation order. 

Parents that can work on agreeing and making their own visitation schedule, is usually preferable and benefits everyone involved. If a court-ordered visitation order is necessary, there are some common schedules that may be put into effect. While the non-custodial parent's visitation rights are not usually terminated, they may find that they do not get to see their child as much as they would, if the two parents could come to an agreement. There are several typical schedules that a non-custodial parent might be given as their court-ordered visitation order. 

One common schedule for a non-custodial parent is a weekly schedule of alternate weekends. Sometimes the court-ordered visitation order will also allow one night a week, depending on the distance between the two parents' locations. A holiday schedule is usually created as part of a court-ordered visitation order. Visitation rights do allow for a parent to see their children on holidays, depending on the circumstances. Usually, the holidays are split between the parents. Holidays may also be switched on a yearly basis, with a child spending one Christmas with their custodial parent and the next years Christmas with the non-custodial parent. Usually the child is allowed to be with their mother on Mother's Day and their father on Father's Day. Vacations are other times that a child may spend a few weeks at a time with the non-custodial parent. Often, a visitation order allows for the non-custodial parent to have the child from two to four weeks, consecutively.

It is sometimes necessary for a court-ordered visitation order to be created if the parents cannot come to an agreement. Although it may not always be preferable, the courts do try to keep both the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent and the child's best interests in mind.

Court Role in Visitation Schedule

Court Role in Visitation Schedule


When a couple decides to divorce, there may be facing a lot of litigation processes. When there are children involved, the couple has more to worry about than the usual problems of dividing up assets. If the parents do not have joint custody, then there is a non-custodial parent and a custodial parent. The non-custodial parent, or the parent that the child does not live with full time, generally has the visitation rights so that they can take an active role in their child's life. 

Whether or not they can agree on a visitation schedule, the family court will have to approve any visitation, custody or child support arrangements for them to be legitimate. If there is no court order, then the arrangements are not legally binding. A couple who is divorcing should have a legal agreement regarding visitation, even if they get along and agree on a visitation schedule. Having a legal court order may help in the future if problems arise. The family court will also help the couple to arrange visitation schedules if they cannot come to an agreement. You can also consult with a child visitation lawyer to review your case.

Family Court Background:

Family courts handle issues ranging from divorce to child custody. Any issue that is related to a family matter will be handled by a family court. When a judge in family court makes final decisions on child visitation schedules, they legally must act in the best interests of the child. The Family Law Act made this a rule. Under the Family Law Act, the child's best interests are considered to be their safety and the ability to spend quality time with each parent. 

Other things may be considered as well. The court prefers that the parents of the child devise their own visitation schedule. This shows that the parents are able to put aside their differences for the sake of their children. There are many times when this cannot happen. The family court will then step in to make decisions with the best interests of the child in mind.

Determining the Best Interests of the Child First:

The Family Law Act requires all family courts to make decisions for the best interests of the child, the top priority when determining visitation. There can be some confusion as to what their best interests are. The two sets of guidelines that the court follows are the child's safety and their right to have both parents in their life. However, there are other factors that the court will consider when deciding on a child's visitation schedule, if the parents cannot come to an agreement on one. 

The court may consider the child's preferences, if the child is considered old enough and mature enough to speak on such a decision. Another factor that may be taken into account is the relationship that the child has with each parent. If the child is much closer with one parent, then the court may decide that the child's best interest is spending the majority of their time with that parent. A parent's living conditions are considered as well. An unsafe environment such as a parent living in a bad neighborhood can affect a visitation schedule.

Mediation Process:

Parents who are unable to reach a compromise on a visitation schedule may be ordered to work with a mediator. A mediator works for the court to counsel families with the hopes of reaching mutual agreements on visitation and custody issues. A mediator is not a family counselor. In almost every circumstance, a mediator can report back to the family court judge on what was said during a meeting. 

Working with a mediator is considered to be the last option before the court takes over and decides on the child's custody and visitation schedule. Sometimes, the option of having a mediator will be skipped and the court will move to make arrangements immediately after the parents cannot agree on a schedule. Other times, the parents may be legally required to work with one. If a mediator cannot help the parents agree on a visitation schedule, the court has no choice but to take over and make a fixed visitation schedule for the family to abide by.

Court-ordered Visitation Schedule:

A court-ordered visitation schedule is one that the family court designs. Once it is legitimized, the child visitation schedule is a legally binding court order. While a parent is technically not obligated to take advantage of the visitation they are offered, they can be held in contempt of court for not following the court-ordered visitation schedule. If the custodial parent does not allow the non-custodial parent any visitation, they can be held in contempt for not following the court-ordered visitation schedule. There are some common court-ordered visitation schedules that are put into effect. 

One is every other weekend, with one additional night during the week added. The weekend is legally considered to start on Friday afternoon and end on Sunday evening. Holidays are often split as fairly as possible between parents, with the child spending Father's Day with their Dad and Mother's Day with their Mom. Other holidays like Christmas may be rotated yearly. School vacations and summer are often a time when a child will visit with their non-custodial parent for a set period of time, such as two weeks.

Legal Representation:

It may be necessary for an individual to hire a family lawyer when making custody or visitation arrangements. Lawyers that specialize in visitation issues will be able to help an individual understand and navigate the complicated process of determining visitation issues. A couple who cannot agree on a visitation schedule may choose to hire two separate visitation lawyers. 

The lawyers can then work together to help the courts make a visitation schedule. If a couple can agree on an arrangement, then hiring a visitation lawyer may be unnecessary. However, one may still want to consult a visitation lawyer, in case there are any questions or confusion surrounding the visitation procedures. Visitation and custody lawyers can be found through one's local family court.

Easy Guide to Completing Paperwork File With Clerk

Easy Guide to Completing Paperwork File With Clerk

Anytime a parent wishes to file for a change in visitation arrangements, their will be legal visitation forms that must be filled out. The process of changing a visitation schedule can be difficult, and knowing ahead of time which visitation forms must be completed and filed with the county clerk, in a family court will make the process quicker and easier. Changing a visitation schedule is not to be done without the courts permission. There are legal steps that must be taken before a court will be willing to recognize the new visitation schedule as valid.
Visitation schedules can be changed and many times they should be, especially as a child grows older. A visitation schedule that worked well for a toddler may not work well for a teenager. Courts prefer that parents agree on visitation schedules and working it out on their own is usually in everyone’s best interest. However, whether or not the ex-spouses can come to their own agreement about the visitation schedule change, there will still be at least one visitation form or petition to fill out. A verbal agreement or even a homemade contract that is not filed through the court, cannot be recognized as valid. Sometimes, the only visitation form that is necessary to fill out, is a petition to change the visitation schedule. This is known as filing a motion. 
A visitation form or petition can be written up by the parent who is requesting the visitation schedule change. If a couple wants to change their visitation schedule while they are still in the process of divorce, filing a motion to change the proposed divorce degree may be necessary besides filing a petition to change the visitation schedule. The written visitation forms should include information such as the names and ages of the children, the reasons for the request in visitation change and the positive effects that the parent feels the changes would have on the child. The visitation form petition should not be a tirade against one’s ex-spouse, since a visitation form that is written in that manner will not be given as much merit as a factual and positive one. 
These visitation forms must be filed with the county clerk at one’s local family court. A court date cannot be scheduled until the visitation form is filed. If a new visitation schedule agreement has not been reached between the parents, then one parent has the right to file their visitation form or petition on their own. However, the other parent does have a right to know that the visitation schedule is being challenged, since they have a right to oppose it in court. Because of this, they need to be officially served with a notice that visitation forms have been filed on behalf of the other parent. The visitation forms that are served will include the court date and time, so that the parent knows when to show up to court.
Whether or not the parents have an amicable relationship, any visitation change requests must be filed in their local family court. Visitation forms must be on record to be valid. If these visitation forms are not legally on file, then they can’t be recognized and the new agreement will not be valid or legal.