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What is 'reasonable visitation'?

During your divorce case, the judge says that you should get "reasonable visitation" to allow you to see your children, even though they are going to live with your ex. You understand why living with your ex helps them -- they keep the same home, friends, neighbors and school -- but you want to make sure that you understand just what rights you have. What does reasonable visitation mean?

The judge can, if needed, give you a strict visitation schedule. This is often done when parents cannot cooperate and get along with one another. A court order is needed to ensure that you can see the kids at all.

By offering you reasonable visitation, the judge is essentially saying that you two need to figure out what works for you. Courts prefer to do this when parents can:

  • Communicate
  • Cooperate
  • Put the kids first

The advantages are many, starting with the fact that your visitation schedule can fit nicely into the rest of your life. You and your spouse can talk about what works the best. Do you work a late shift at your job, so you'd rather see the children in the morning? Do you work every week, so you're hoping for visitation on the weekends? Does your ex need to work on some of those weekends, so it actually helps him or her to leave the children with you for the day?

These are just a few examples of the advantages of creating your own visitation schedule and working together to do it. Make sure that you fully understand your legal rights during this process.

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