Visitation or parenting time is part and parcel with custody. Visitation is the schedule of when each parent has parenting time with the child or children. As with custody arrangements, the court prioritizes the best interest of the child. Factors that influence the judge’s ruling may include the age of the parent and child, relationships the child may have with other family members, the mental and physical state of the parent and child (if the child has any special needs this will obviously be taken into consideration).
Visitation and custody arrangements can be modified, but the parent seeking the modification must show a material change in circumstance for the court to take action. What constitutes a “material change” varies widely and is case-specific, but some examples of likely qualifying changes are if the other parent has a substance abuse problem, is neglecting or abusing the children, has become seriously physically or mentally ill and is no longer able to care for the children, if there is a significant lack of supervision when with the other parent, or any major change in the situation requiring attention. Parties can also agree to changes during their children’s lives, and petition the court to accept agreements that change the parenting schedule.
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