How is parenting time/visitation scheduled?

Navigating Parenting Time and Visitation Scheduling: A Comprehensive Guide


One of the most critical aspects of post-divorce or separation life for parents is determining how parenting time or visitation will be scheduled. The well-being and stability of the children involved greatly depend on a structured and well-thought-out arrangement. In this blog post, we'll explore the key considerations and various methods for scheduling parenting time and visitation.

Prioritizing the Best Interests of the Child

The cornerstone of any parenting time or visitation schedule is the best interests of the child. Courts and parents alike prioritize the emotional, physical, and psychological well-being of the child when determining a schedule. Factors such as age, the child's relationship with each parent, and their routines play a crucial role in this decision-making process.

Types of Parenting Time Schedules

Several parenting time schedules exist, each catering to the unique needs and circumstances of families:

a. Sole Custody: In situations where one parent has sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent might be granted visitation rights. These visits could be on weekends, holidays, or other agreed-upon times.

b. Joint Custody: In joint custody arrangements, parents share physical custody of the child. Schedules can vary widely, such as alternating weeks, 2-2-3 arrangements (two days with one parent, two days with the other, three days again with the first parent), or any other customized plan that works for the family.

c. Bird's Nest Custody: This unique arrangement involves the children staying in the family home while the parents take turns living with them. It minimizes disruption to the children's routines but can be logistically complex.

d. Long-Distance Arrangements: If one parent lives far away, the schedule might involve longer stretches of visitation during school breaks and holidays, making the most of the time available.

Creating a Schedule

When creating a parenting time or visitation schedule, communication and cooperation between parents are key:

a. Open Dialogue: Parents should openly discuss their preferences, availability, and the child's needs. Flexibility is vital, as unforeseen circumstances can arise.

b. Routine and Consistency: Children thrive on routine and consistency. A well-structured schedule minimizes confusion and anxiety for children, making transitions smoother.

c. Holiday and Special Occasions: Special occasions and holidays should be divided fairly, allowing both parents to spend quality time with their children. Alternating or sharing these days can be a good approach.

d. Make Amendments as Needed: As children grow and circumstances change, schedules might need adjustments. Being open to modifying the schedule ensures that it continues to meet the child's best interests.

Legal and Mediation Support

When parents cannot agree on a schedule independently, legal and mediation services can be valuable:

a. Mediation: A neutral third party can help parents navigate complex emotions and reach a balanced agreement that works for everyone involved.

b. Court Intervention: If negotiations fail, the court might intervene and establish a schedule based on the child's best interests.


Scheduling parenting time or visitation requires sensitivity, understanding, and commitment from both parents. Prioritizing the child's best interests, maintaining open communication, and creating a structured schedule are essential components of a successful arrangement. Whether parents are working together amicably or require legal assistance, the ultimate goal remains the same: providing a stable and loving environment for the child to flourish.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) that individuals might have for a family lawyer

    Divorce and Separation:
  1. What are the grounds for divorce in our jurisdiction?
  2. How long does the divorce process usually take?
  3. How is property divided during a divorce?
  4. What is spousal support/alimony, and how is it determined?
  5. Can I get a divorce without hiring a lawyer?
  6. How does child custody and visitation work?
  7. What is a prenuptial agreement, and should I consider getting one?
  8. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce?
  9. How are debts divided during a divorce?
  10. Can a divorce be settled through mediation or collaborative law?

  11. Child Custody and Support:
  12. How is child custody determined?
  13. What factors are considered when determining child custody arrangements?
  14. How is child support calculated?
  15. Can child custody and support orders be modified?
  16. What happens if one parent wants to relocate with the children?
  17. What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
  18. How is parenting time/visitation scheduled?
  19. Can grandparents seek visitation rights?

  20. Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders:
  21. What legal protections are available for victims of domestic violence?
  22. How can I get a restraining order against an abusive partner?
  23. What evidence is needed to obtain a restraining order?
  24. What should I do if I've been falsely accused of domestic violence?

  25. Adoption and Surrogacy:
  26. What are the legal requirements for adopting a child?
  27. How does the adoption process work?
  28. Can same-sex couples adopt children?
  29. What is the difference between open and closed adoptions?
  30. How does surrogacy work from a legal standpoint?

  31. Property and Financial Issues:
  32. How is marital property classified and divided in a divorce?
  33. What is the difference between community property and equitable distribution?
  34. How are retirement accounts and pensions divided in a divorce?
  35. What is the process for determining the value of assets?
  36. Can one spouse be held responsible for the other's debts?
  37. How can I protect my business or professional practice during a divorce?

  38. Legal Separation:
  39. What is a legal separation, and how does it differ from divorce?
  40. What issues can be addressed in a legal separation agreement?
  41. Can I convert a legal separation into a divorce later on?
  42. Is a legal separation necessary if we're just living apart?

  43. Same-Sex Marriage and LGBTQ+ Issues:
  44. Are the legal processes the same for same-sex couples?
  45. Can LGBTQ+ couples adopt children?
  46. What legal challenges might LGBTQ+ couples face in family law matters?
  47. How does the law handle transgender or non-binary parents?

  48. International Family Law:
  49. What happens if one parent wants to move internationally with the children?
  50. How are child custody and support determined in international cases?
  51. What is the Hague Convention, and how does it apply to family law?

  52. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution:
  53. What are the benefits of using mediation in family law cases?
  54. How does the mediation process work?
  55. Can mediation be used for high-conflict cases?

  56. Enforcement of Family Court Orders:
  57. What can I do if my ex-spouse isn't complying with court orders?
  58. How can child support or alimony orders be enforced?
  59. Can custody and visitation orders be enforced across state lines?

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