A Brief Guide to Florida Child Visitation Guidelines
It is in the vast majority of children’s best interests to spend time with both of their parents, to learn from their success and their mistakes, to rely on their years of experience, to have a place to go for affection and sympathy, and to learn about their roots and the world that they’ve come from. Florida law understands this, and has formulated Florida child visitation guidelines to assist parents who are trying to decide what an idea visitation schedule will look like.
The truth, of course, is that there is no ideal visitation schedule. It varies from family to family, usually from year to year as children age and their needs grow more specific. Nevertheless, the Florida child visitation guidelines can help you to understand the range of possibilities open to you and see what to expect from many normal circumstances.
• Infants up to six months: For infants it is generally agreed upon that regular interaction is key, with no more than two days ever coming between visits. Three weekly visits of three hours each are the norm. One overnight visit per month is also advised, usually from 6:00 P.M. Friday until 1:00 P.M. Saturday. Some agreement should be reached if the child is breast fed, such as the mother’s proximity during regular feeding time or bottled milk for other times. It is the primary parents responsibility to supply the secondary parent with child care materials such as clothing, child safety seats, and pacifiers. The secondary parent should be allowed to see the child for at least four hours on each major holiday.
• Children from six months to 36 months: There should be two three hour visits per week, with five hours of visitation every other Sunday. Additionally, the secondary residential parent shall have visitational rights for the second Friday of each month from 6:00 P.M. Friday to 6:00 P.M. Saturday and on the fourth Saturday of each month from 6:00 P.M. Saturday to 6:00 P.M. Sunday. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day should be spent with the appropriate parent for at least five hours. From 12 to 24 months, the secondary parent is also entitled to just one of the following:
• Two one-week visits from Friday at 6:00 P.M. to Friday at 6:00 P.M. The primary residential parent shall have the right to three hour visits on Monday and Wednesday during this week. The two visits must be separated by no less than six weeks.
• Two four-day visits from 6:00 P.M. on Friday to 6:00 P.M. on the following Tuesday. The primary parent will not have visitational rights during these visits.
For children from 24 months to 36 months, the options are three one-week visits and three four-day visits.
• Children more than 36 months: The secondary parent will visit from 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M on one weekday per week, usually Wednesday. The secondary parent is also entitled to every other weekend, from 6:00 P.M. Friday to 6:00 P.M. Sunday. This is sometimes moved to Monday morning, so that the secondary parent takes the child to school. Holidays are swapped between parents on an even-odd year schedule. Spring break also alternates, as do birthdays. The secondary parent will also have primary custody for a period of six weeks during summer vacation, with their choice of when the six weeks occur so long as they notify the primary parent by April 15.