In divorce, courts may order reasonable visitation for the noncustodial parent, giving the parents freedom and flexibility to figure out a child visitation schedule that works for everyone in the family.
When a judge orders reasonable visitation, the parent with physical child custody has primary control over the child visitation schedule and isn't obligated to agree to any particular schedule; however, divorce courts generally arrange more precise child visitation schedules if a custodial parent won't be flexible and reasonable in scheduling visitation. If reasonable visitation has been ordered and the custodial parent continuously makes visitation difficult for the noncustodial parent, a petition can be filed with the divorce court to modify the visitation arrangement.
Since the term "reasonable" is subjective and open to interpretation, it's often difficult for a noncustodial parents to successfully pursue a contempt action against the parent with physical child custody when visitation disputes arise.
If a visitation schedule is defined by the divorce court, a parent may be held in contempt of court if the specific provisions of the order are violated, but with reasonable visitation orders, specifics can't be violated. Resolving these cases has led many divorce courts to steer away from "reasonable visitation" orders and use more specific schedules.
While reasonable visitation can be ideal if parents are willing to cooperate and work together, it can also be used as a weapon by the custodial parent if parents cannot get along.
Learn how your state's child custody and visitation laws may affect your relationship with your child. Connect with a divorce lawyer near you to learn about what is considered a reasonable visitation agreement and get advice about how to arrange a child visitation schedule.
Set up a preliminary consultation by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form. Total Divorce can connect you with a local attorney familiar with family law even if your child visitation case doesn't stem from a divorce.
The above synopsis of child visitation laws is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to serve as legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these child visitation laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.