The importance of a carefully thought out visitation plan

Developing a visitation plan that is in the best interests of the child and works best for the needs of the family is important. It can take time to negotiate and agree upon a visitation agreement but it is worth it for the peace of mind and to fulfill the best interests of the child. A child visitation plan and schedule can avoid visitation disputes and visitation-related confusion and stress.

A visitation schedule is the center of a child custody agreement and having a visitation schedule that makes sense and works for the family can avoid conflict and allow children to better adjust to changes follow a divorce or other separation. The first determination that needs to be made is the type of custody the family will share. Child custody may be joint, or shared, custody or sole custody and time-sharing is a focus of family law courts in Florida whenever it is possible for both parents to be involved.

Determining which parent will have physical custody of the child, or if both parents will share physical custody of the child, and who will have legal custody of the child, and, again, both parents may have legal custody, should be decided on based on what is in the best interests of the child. It is also important to include a holiday schedule and a schedule of special events an occasions and develop a visitation schedule based on a list of those dates and events drawn up by the parents.

It can also be helpful to outline logistics in the visitation schedule and to keep in mind that child custody modifications may be possible based on an agreement of the parents or in certain circumstances by the family law court should the family's situation change. Parents should always be familiar with how child custody and visitation schedules are developed to help them better negotiate and agree on the best custody arrangement for their child and family.

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Amy L. Beauchaine, Attorney at Law
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