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Protecting visitation rights

The divorce process is seldom easy for all parties involved. Each side generally has a view as to what they believe they deserve and are entitled to, and these views often vary widely between each divorcing spouse. One of the most heated decisions to be made during a divorce are decisions regarding children from the marriage such as child custody.

If both parties are able to work together, and the divorce is amicable, they could consider joint custody, where both sides share an equal or close to equal time with the child or children. If a mutually agreeable decision cannot be made, it will be made by the courts. When one spouse is granted sole custody, in most cases the courts will allow the other spouse visitation rights. These might be "reasonable visitation," which is generally preferred because it offers flexibility between schedules, or "fixed visitation, "when it is determined that the spouses are unlikely to work together to find time for visitations on their own.

In most cases, when reasonable visitation is recommended, the custodial parent typically has more influence over the schedule-making. It is important that both spouses still work together, often having to make sacrifices and offer flexibility to make certain that appropriate time is still granted to the non-custodial parent.

When divorcing parents are not able to cooperate or work together, the courts may set fixed visitation, which may include not only specific time for the non-custodial spouse, but specific locations as well. This could prove to be beneficial to a child who will develop a firm and consistent schedule and will know when time the visitations will take place. When possible, it is generally best during a divorce to try to come to an agreement between spouses rather than let the courts decide, when the decisions made may not be favorable to either party.

Source: findlaw.com, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ," Accessed April 24, 2017

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