COURTS AND CHILD VISITATION SCHEDULES
A divorced parent might have custody of a child or visitation rights. Often, having visitation rights means being subject to a visitation schedule that was created by the parents or established in court.
A court may create a schedule when parents going through a divorce are in too much conflict to agree on one. If the parents live far apart and must travel to make visitation happen, a court-ordered schedule might also resolve the issue. Courts generally take the position that unless a parent endangers a child’s well-being, children benefit from spending time with both parents. A parent who violates a visitation agreement could face a court penalty or only be allowed supervised visitation with their children.
If parents share custody, courts can create a custody schedule. Parents may have input into both visitation and custody schedules, and older children might also express preferences that are reflected in the schedules. Courts may also address where children spend holidays since this is often a point of contention.
There are a number of different arrangements that can work well for parents and children if the parents have shared custody. For example, children may spend alternating weeks with each parent, or they might spend part of the week with one parent and part with the other. One parent may be required to pay child support to the other. This is income-based, so if a parent has a significant drop in income, that parent might be able to get the child support amount reduced. However, it is necessary to go to court and request a modification rather than simply ceasing payment. Until the modification is approved, the parent will continue to owe the same amount and may owe arrears on unpaid support.