Posted on: 25 September 2015
In a family court, the judge presiding over your visitation hearing doesn't have to come up with a fixed visitation schedule. He or she can just determine that the non-custodial parent is entitled to a "reasonable" visitation. This means that it is up to you, the parents, to come up with a visitation schedule. Here are the pros and cons of such an arrangement:
It Promotes Parental Cooperation
A reasonable visitation schedule "forces" you to cooperate for the well-being of your children. You have to sit down with one another and come up with a schedule that works for both of you. There are high chances that, once you sit down, you may end up talking about other issues (not related to the visitation) concerning your child. For example, you may use the opportunity to choose a school for your child. In the end, the child benefits greatly.
It Gives You Flexibility
Another advantage of reasonable visitation is that it gives you flexibility. You get to decide which days you can visit, which means you can tweak the arrangement to suit your schedule. For example, if you run a business that gets busier over the weekends as compared to weekdays, then you can agree for a weekend visitation. A rigid visitation schedule from the court would deny you such a benefit.
Adherence May Be Easy
Many people find it easier to adhere to visitation arrangements they have made than those ordered by the court. If you or your former partner is such a person, then reasonable visitation is right for you. It may make you feel, for example, that you are on top of the situation, and you aren't being "ordered" to do something you don't want. On top of that, adherence may also be easy due to the flexibility discussed above.
Despite all these advantages, reasonable visitation still has its drawbacks. Here are a couple of these disadvantages:
It's Not Practical If One Parent Is Obstinate
As explained in the introduction, this arrangement requires you to agree to a visitation schedule. It takes negotiation to come up with a reasonable schedule, but even this is only possible if both of you are cooperative. Assume you are dealing with an ex-partner who is out to frustrate you and resists every suggestion you make. Although you may have to go back to court, and your partner may face the wrath of the law, it's much better to avoid all the confrontations from the beginning.
The Custodial Parent Has Greater Power
In principle, both parents are supposed to sit down and come up with a schedule that works for both of them. In practice, the custodial parent seems to have more rights than the non-custodial one. Legally, the custodial parent doesn't have to agree to agree to the suggestions of the other parent. This makes it difficult for you to negotiate a workable schedule if you are a non-custodial parent.
Consult an attorney firm, such as Novenstern Fabriani & Gaudio, LLP, for more information.Share