Creating a child visitation schedule is a lot of work. It can be exhausting and stressful to come up with the arrangement that dictates when your child spends time with each parent. While you’re creating your visitation plan, it is essential that you know the laws that surround child visitation. Knowing the laws can save you time and hassle that would come when you have to change something to be in accordance with the law. It also helps you prevent problems down the road because you know about the laws sooner and can do something before your agreement becomes a court order. Here are three visitation laws that are vital to your custody agreement.
1. Both parents have an equal right to see the child. Every state has the basic law that both parents have equal rights to the children. This obviously changes if there is proof of abuse or harm to the child. You need to realize that your ex has a legal right to see the children–and you have that right as well. Unless you can prove that your former spouse is harmful for the kids, it is unlikely that the court won’t let them visit the child. And, don’t ever let your former spouse say that you can’t see the kids. Instead of trying to block out the other parent, come up with a schedule that allows for visitation.
2. If you and your former spouse can’t agree on visitation, the court decides. Thus, it is in your best interest to try, if at all possible, to work out something with your ex because the court could come up with something you don’t like. If you take control of the situation and create your own visitation schedule with the terms and conditions that meet your needs then you will be much more satisfied with the custody arrangement. If you and the child’s other parent simple can’t agree, be prepared to present your case to court. Show the court that the visitation plan you propose is in the child’s best interest.
3. Only the court order is legally binding. This means that anything you want in your custody agreement has to be in the court order. Think about this and decide what provisions and stipulations you want in your agreement. Perhaps you always want to know the other parent’s address. Write that down as a provision. Maybe you’d like a stipulation that says no girlfriends or boyfriends may spend the night when your child is visiting. Or, maybe you’d like a provision that says the other parent receives information about people who will live or spend time with the children. All of this is common information that parents want. But, if it isn’t in the court order, your former spouse doesn’t have to give you the information. Think ahead to any problems or situations that may come up and add in appropriate provisions to your agreement. This will save you heartache and hassle in the long run.