How is a Visitation Schedule Determined? 

For parents who are no longer in a relationship, child custody is a topic that can be difficult to discuss. Each parent wants to be able to have a loving relationship with their child, and to do so they want to secure the necessary bonding time with them. Forming a visitation schedule that works for all parties involved is not always easy or simple, especially when one parent is reluctant to cooperate or compromise with the other parent so their schedule is accommodated. To learn how a visitation schedule is generally formed, an experienced child custody lawyer who has handled family law cases like one from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright can explain.  

Who Determines a Visitation Schedule?

After custodial rights are determined by a court decision in a child custody case, a visitation schedule is arranged. Generally, the parent who is given primary custody gets to decide how they want the schedule to be set up. Both parents are encouraged to work together so they can agree on a schedule, however, if they are unable to, a judge may step in and determine the schedule for them. This is commonly the case if one parent is granted primary custody of a child and one parent is considered non-custodial. 

What is the Typical Structure of a Visitation Schedule? 

Visitation is determined by the type of custody. Parents who have joint custody of their child often have an easier time arranging schedules and are able to split time spent with their child more equally than a parent who does not have custodial rights.  

There is no single structure of a visitation schedule dictated by Maryland law for child custody cases. A common structure however typically consists of alternating weekends for the non-custodial parent. Apart from the regular schedule, schedules for specific times throughout the year may be created, such as a holiday or vacation schedules. For example, parents may agree to rotate holidays each season or year. 

What if You Don’t Approve of an Established Schedule? 

If you don’t approve of a visitation schedule, first try to raise your concerns or issues with your ex-partner so any changes can be agreed on and submitted through family court. Otherwise, you must go back to court and ask a judge to change their decision which will require an additional fee. 

Creating a visitation schedule and abiding by it can be challenging for both parts, but being able to make a schedule shows your child that you are capable of communicating effectively. If you need guidance regarding your visitation rights, contact a trusted lawyer to discuss your situation.