Child Visitation FAQ

Does a court have to decide our visitation schedule, or can the other parent and I make the schedule ourselves?

If you and your child's other parent can agree on a parenting plan and visitation schedule, you can submit it to the court for approval. As long as it's reasonable, the court will approve it, and it will become an enforceable court order. This is a great option because it means that you can decide on the best parenting arrangement for your family -- and you know your family's needs a lot better than the judge does. When you make your own parenting plan, make sure you deal with details like who will take care of the kids if they have an unexpected day off from school and how you'll divide holidays and school vacations. Leave room for changes as the kids grow older and their needs change -- you can put a provision in the agreement that says that, as long as you write down changes and you both sign them, they're enforceable just like your original order. That way you don't have to go back to court every time you want to make a change. To learn more about making parenting agreements, see Building a Parenting Agreement that Works, by Mimi Lyster (Nolo). 

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