Related to the issue of custody is the matter of visitation. The parent denied physical custody of the child has the right to reasonable visitation with the child. The only exception is if the parent is abusive or behaves in a way that can be harmful to the child.
The frequency and duration of visitation must be carefully worked out with your spouse. The more frequent the visits, the closer the relationship between child and noncustodial parent. Therefore, the most liberal and flexible visitation arrangement is encouraged. While you and your spouse may agree on custody and visitation, this is always subject to review and modification by the court.
When considering the terms of visitation, the court will generally favor a fixed or detailed visitation schedule rather than rely on vague terms such as "reasonable visitation," which can only invite disagreement when spouses are not getting along. You can, however, build some flexibility into your agreement as long as you stay close to the standard of what a court may consider reasonable.
What factors will the court consider when evaluating whether your agreement is in the best interests of your children?
� Age and sex of the child.
� The capability and willingness of each parent to provide for the child's needs.
� The bond between the child and each parent.
� The desires of the child (if an older child).
� The desires of the parents.
� The health of all parties.
� The effect of moving on the child.
Additionally, the court will more willingly grant joint custody when:
� The parents can cooperate and make decisions together.
� The relationship between the child and each parent is reasonably balanced.
� Both parents enthusiastically welcome joint custody.