Visitation Agreements for Divorced Parents:
When the prospect of divorce falls into your life, reasonable agreements just aren't always possible. As emotions are generally boiling, more often than not a divorce leads to hostility and vengeance.
Another unfortunate aspect of divorce is the negative effect it tends to have on the children who were a part of the failed marriage.
When faced with divorce as a parent, nothing is more important than the wellbeing of your children. Parents need to put aside their differences and squabbles and act civilly and responsibly around their children and towards one another. Children don't ask for parents to divorce, they've become innocent victims to whatever differences have arisen and the last thing they need to see is their parents trying to hurt each other.
The majority of parents love their children equally. And your children blossom under the spell of the love provided by each of you. There is no denying the fact that children need both of their parents, and whenever possible, equal visitation would be ideal.
However, in some cases, one parent might not be physically capable or responsible or even safe for the children to be around, resulting in the other parent getting sole custody without visitation rights.
Divorce leads to many changes of situations and circumstances and it is difficult to predict exactly what the outcome will be without examining the character of each parent, and the direction their lives are heading in, as well as their history, their financial ability and many other factors.
Visitation rights need to be established in order to maintain appropriate parenting and adequate care for your children while establishing guidelines and ground-rules for each parent to follow.
Each parent should sit down and make a list of the rights of the parent who has custody and the parent who does not have custody. Write down your wishes, your limitations, what you feel the child needs or doesn't need.
There are three main topics to be considered:
- The Schedule
- How to make the Exchange
- Communication for issues that arise.
Additional factors to consider:
- How much time each parent should have?
- Don't over-schedule activities in your visitation period
- Should the grandparents be considered; and if so, how?
- Creating a child friendly home
- Summer vacations
- How will holidays be handled?
It is wise to resolve issues such as the ones listed above before a situation arises where you might be placed in a predicament or have to make a hasty decision.
Establishing a Visitation Agreement:
There are many ways to establish visitation agreements. There is your way for you. There is the way the other parent wants it to be. There is the court's intervention when necessary. And there are different rules in different states. Florida divorce law requires a Parenting Plan for all divorcing couples with children starting October 1, 2008.
As Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes states:
It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys of childrearing.
Florida law divides parenting issues into three categories: parental responsibility, time sharing, and support.
The law requires divorced parents share parental responsibility for their child after divorce, unless shared responsibility is detrimental to the child.
The goal is to keep both parents involved in the life of the child.
A Florida Parenting Plan is required in all cases involving time-sharing with minor children, even when time-sharing is not in dispute.
Non-compliance with a visitation agreement:
If a parent isn't living up to the visitation agreement, the court can be a help in enforcement. Don't allow the frustration over one parent's non-compliance to negatively impact the children. Go to the court for help before that happens.
Modifications to the Visitation Agreement:
Modifications to the visitation agreement can be made at any time to reflect the children's best interests, and both parents should be work toward a reasonable solution. In fact, this issue of visitation agreements is contentious and on-going, so your flexibility will be tested here as well as in other areas during your divorce. It might be the only tool left to maintain control over an out-of-control divorce. Your visitation agreement can prevent years of stress and be of good benefit to your children when properly handled by a visitation and custody attorney.
The attorneys at Fernandez Law Group always represent the best interests of our clients and if you have any questions about child visitation and custody in Florida, we suggest you
Call us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.
Content authored by Frank Fernandez