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When a court awards physical custody to one parent and "reasonable" visitation to the other, the parent with physical custody is generally in the driver's seat regarding what is reasonable. This need not be bad if the parents cooperate to see that the kids spend a significant amount of time with each parent.
Unfortunately, it sometimes translates into little visitation time with the noncustodial parent, resulting in disputes over missed visits and inconvenience. To avoid such problems, many courts now prefer for the parties to work out a fairly detailed parenting plan that sets the visitation schedule and outlines who has responsibility for decisions affecting the children. For more information on visitation rights, see the Child Visitation FAQ. Or, for more about parenting agreements, see Building a Parenting Agreement That Works, by Mimi Lyster Zemmelman (Nolo).