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What is reasonable visitation?

While standard visitation used to mean that the noncustodial parent had the children once a week during the evening and every other weekend, visitation schedules have evolved and are often much more generous. One common phrase heard in family law cases is the idea of "reasonable visitation," but it's important to understand just what this means and how it applies to your case.

Reasonable visitation sounds vague and in reality, it is. This phrase usually means that the courts are leaving it up to the parents to agree on a visitation schedule that works for both parties and coincides with the best interests of the children. However, this often works out much better in theory than in practice.

While coming up with a mutually agreeable schedule sounds ideal, and can be if the parents can communicate well, it also means that the agreement can change quickly if one party become angry or decides he or she no longer agrees. In these cases, it's often the custodial parent who wins out at least in the short term because the noncustodial parent will have to go through the courts and ask them to intervene.

It is almost always better for the all parties involved if the parents can agree on visitation, but when that isn't a possibility, the courts will step in to set court-ordered visitation. It's during this process that a family law attorney can be of great help, whether it be by presenting some options for working with your ex that you may not have thought of or fighting for your interests in the family courts.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ," accessed Aug. 07, 2015

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