One of the most intense stages of a divorce process is that of child custody and visitation discussions. If you are approaching that stage, then you are probably wondering what the court has in store for you. Well, here is an overview of three different types of visitations that the court may order:
If you are given reasonable visitation, then it is up to you and the custodial parent to define the schedules for your visits. For example, if you had agreed to a visit every weekend, you can change it to a mid-week visitation if something comes up and you won't be available during the weekend.
The best advantage of reasonably visitation is that it allows you to factor in your calendar as well as the child's schedule. However, it can only work if you are willing and are capable of talking to each other frequently.
Just like the name suggests, this is the exact opposite of a reasonable visitation. If you have fixed visitation, then you have to see your child on the exact day and time ordered by the court. For example, if you are allowed a visit every Thursday, then you can't change it to a weekend even if you are busy on one Thursday. This is the case even if you have a pressing issue somewhere; you are expected to put the child's interest first. In fact, there may be legal consequences if you interfere with the court's order. Fixed visitation can be very frustrating, but it is usually only made in cases where the parents' relationship is too acrimonious for them to communicate with each other.
This means that your visits with the child will be supervised by a third party. The court will only do this if it is convinced that the child's well-being is endangered if you are left alone with him or her. For example, if you have a prior conviction for family violence (especially towards your child), it may be assumed that a repeat incidence may occur if you don't have a supervisor.
You may also be restricted to a supervised visitation if you:
- are mentally ill
- have a history of drug abuse
- are believed to be contemplating abducting the child
- have never spent time with the child
- have anger management issues
The supervisor may be the other parent, a close (adult) relative, the child's caregiver, a professional volunteer or even a therapist. Whoever is chosen to supervise the visit, it would be illegal for you to try and circumvent his or her supervision; for example, to see the child alone.
Which type of visitation do you think is best for your situation? Tell a family lawyer like Robert L. Flanagan about your wishes; they know best how to help you achieve them.