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
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 health of all
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.
between the child and each parent is reasonably balanced.
enthusiastically welcome joint custody.