What is Child Visitation?

When the judge grants one parent physical custody of a child the other parent is usually granted visitation (or parenting time) with the child. Visitation orders are most commonly made in divorce, legal separation, paternity, and domestic violence cases. There are several options for visitation including a court ordered specific visitation schedule, “reasonable” visitation without a specific schedule, “supervised” visitation or an order of “no visitation”. The parties may come to an agreement regarding the visitation plan but if an agreement cannot be reached, the judge will create the visitation plan and make the visitation orders.

A parent may request “supervised” visitation for the other parent. This option is used when the child’s safety and well-being require that visits with a parent be supervised by the other parent, another adult, or a professional agency.

A parent may request that the other parent have no contact with the child. The option of a “no visitation” order is used in extreme situations in which contact with the parent would be physically or emotionally harmful to the child.

Creating a Visitation Plan

Visitation plans should be specific in order to avoid potential conflicts and eliminate confusion. The most effective plans provide details about the specific days of the week for visitation, the times and locations for exchange of the child, and provisions regarding responsibility for transporting the child to and from the visitation. For example, if a parent will have the child “every other weekend”, it is helpful to define that specifically as the 1st, 3rd, and 5th (or the 2nd and 4th) weekends of the month. The pick-up and drop-off times may also be specific, such as Friday at 3:00 p.m. to Sunday at 6:00 p.m. The FL-311 Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment is a helpful tool in creating a visitation schedule.

Here’s more information about Child Visitation.