If anyone had to pick a really contentious issue that tends to come up during a divorce, that would, hands down, be child visitation rights.
Child visitation is an issue that won’t go away; even if the parents are divorced, they still play a role in the child’s life. Nothing in this area of law is crystal clear and in fact, it could even be said there are far too many shades of gray to be intelligible. This is such a loaded area of the law for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the need for both parents to be flexible when their circumstances change and whether or not they feel the need to be accommodating about it. The fact of the matter is that visitation rights are often the last bit of leverage one parent has over the other.
For this, and other reasons, sitting down with a skilled lawyer to work out a detailed visitation agreement may save years of stress and actually wind up being beneficial to the parties and the children – the people who really count in visitation disputes. Most courts advocate for agreements that are in the best interests of the child, which often means that both parents will have significant access to the child. If the parties are able to work this out on their own, it is often better than being handed a court-imposed solution. If the courts do need to step in, the parties may find they don’t like the options in the visitation agreement.
Using a little common sense and remembering who is the most important party to the visitation agreement provisions – the child(ren) – should bring a bit more clarity and reason to the process of trying to work out a visitation schedule. It’s usually best if the parents work things out on their own and come to terms that are equitable and as fair as they can be under the circumstances.
If the courts need to step in they will have an eye to balancing and weighing several factors to arrive at a fair visitation agreement. Those factors would include the location of both parents, what school requirements need to be met, the age of the children and their health and other social concerns. While these things may change over time, the courts realize there has to be at least a starting point.
If faced with a child visitation agreement dispute, it’s best to discuss the various options with a well-qualified attorney and have them guide the participants towards a workable solution rather than have to put out more money to take the matter to court.
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