Understanding the types of parental visitation

When you're negotiating child custody and visitation rights during a divorce, you'll likely hear some terms with which you were previously unfamiliar. It's essential that you understand what they mean so that you and your attorney can fight for what you believe is best for your child.

If the decision is placed in the hands of a judge, he or she will likely determine a "fixed visitation" schedule for the non-custodial parent. Courts often favor this type of visitation schedule, particularly where there is still conflict between the co-parents. It minimizes arguments over when the non-custodial parent can have time with the children. Further, it helps provide stability for the kids.

The better option, however, is what's called "reasonable visitation." In these cases, the parents work together with their attorneys to develop a visitation plan that works best for their children and for their schedules. If parents aren't able to work together to arrive at a satisfactory visitation schedule, the court may be required to step in and determine the schedule, as described above.

When you and your co-parent arrive at a reasonable visitation schedule, it's important to get that codified in your parenting plan. This can help prevent conflicts later down the line. If you find that it needs to be modified later, you can always do so, with the help of your attorney.

Unfortunately, in some situations, one parent may believe that it's not safe for the children to be around the other parent unsupervised. This may be the case if there's a history of violence or substance abuse issues. A parent can ask the court to grant the other parent only supervised visitation.

Of course, the parent making that request will need to provide evidence of his or her concerns for a child's safety. A parent can't just make that request out of spite or because they disagree with their ex's parenting style.

Whether you're the custodial parent or the one who is being given visitation rights, it's essential to have an experienced New York family law attorney on your side to explain your options and help protect your parental rights.

Source: Findlaw, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ," accessed Dec. 28, 2016

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