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#517 Reasonable visitation

mp3 #517 What is Reasonable Visitation? (mp3 file)

Family Law matters are very complex. Many who try to handle these matters on their own quickly find themselves overwhelmed and out of favor with the courts. Often times costs are cited as the reason for self representation. However, most people with assets and retirement plans stand to lose significant amounts of money, or worse, lose custody of their children if they are not properly represented. Continue here to be referred to an experienced and insured Family Law attorney:

In most cases where the custody of children is involved the court provides that both parents shall have joint legal custody of the children, with one parent having primary physical custody and the other parent having the right of reasonable visitation or secondary physical custody. If you are awarded primary physical custody, you are called the primary custodial parent and the other parent is called the secondary custodial parent. The court is required ay law to award joint legal custody whenever possible because the legislature has decided that it is presumed to be in the child's best interests to have two actively involved parents. Sometimes, however, the court will award sole legal and/or physical custody, depending on the circumstances of the case. In most cases, whether joint or sole legal custody is awarded, the non-custodial parent will be awarded reasonable visitation with the minor children. In cases, where the court simply awards reasonable visitation, you and your ex-spouse must work out satisfactory visitation arrangements. The custodial parent must play a large role in deciding whether the request for visitation is reasonable. Some cases are simple. You do not have to permit visitation every day, or at two in the morning, or when the other parent is intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs, or doing something that would be harmful to the children. At the other extreme, it is unreasonable for you to deny visitation because you have hard feelings against the non-custodial parent or because he or she is seeing someone else or because you planned activities which conflict with the other parent's visitation time, or if you deny visitation when the other parent is behind in child support payments.

If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on visitation, the court will impose a schedule that you must follow. A schedule for visits, whether imposed by the court or not, is usually in everyone's best interests, as it provides a routine for everyone to plan around. Frequently this schedule provides for the non-custodial parent to pick up the children on Friday at 6:00P.M. and return them on Sunday at 6:00 P.M. every other weekend. The court then schedules visitation during vacations and holidays; usually alternating them so that you have the children on certain holidays in even numbered years and your ex-spouse has the children on those holidays in odd numbered years. Of course your case may require special schedules.

What happens if you don't live up to the visitation schedule? No one can force parents to visit their children, but the court can and does require the custodial parent to permit the visitation.

The excuse that the children do not want to visit, unless there is a serious reason such as a real danger to the health or welfare of the child, is not a valid reason to refuse visitation. You should do everything to encourage visitation despite your personal feelings about the other parent.

Another excuse for denying visitation is that the children are upset when they return from visiting. A change in routine will normally produce some changes in children's behavior. Again, unless there is a substantial threat to their health or welfare, visitation must follow the court's order.

The whole idea of visitation is to help the children realize that they have two parents and that both parents are entitled to love their children and want to be loved by their children in return.

For additional information, you may want to view to message #518, "How do you enforce visitation rights?"

If you have questions about particular visitation problems and you need an attorney to advise you, you should contact the lawyer referral service.

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