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What is reasonable child visitation?

In some Florida child custody cases, a judge may use the language "reasonable visitation" when awarding child visitation rights to a noncustodial spouse. What does this mean? Does reasonable visitation mean that your children should visit with your ex one day a week, two days a week or visitation should happen by some other kind of schedule?

Generally speaking, when a judge awards reasonable visitation, it means that the judge is entrusting the parents with the responsibility of finding a child visitation schedule that they can agree with and is appropriate for their child. Family law courts frequently prefer to give a general award of "reasonable visitation" -- especially in cases where the parents get along well and can arrive at agreements and compromises without court involvement. This is because parents will have the freedom to creatively agree on a visitation plan that works for both of their schedules.

In these discussions, it's important to note that the custodial parent will usually have more influence over decisions made about "reasonable visitation." As such, the custodial parent may be permitted to make decisions about the duration and times of visitations. That said, judges will not look favorably on a custodial parent who tries to abuse his or her influence in this regard.

Florida parents who have been awarded "reasonable visitation" in their Florida divorce decrees may want to discuss the award with their divorce lawyer before assuming what it means. Your divorce or family law attorney will be able to take swift legal action, when necessary, in order to protect your parental rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental visitation rights," accessed Aug. 31, 2017

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