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Child visitation agreements are court-approved arrangements regarding the time a child spends with his or her non custodial parent after a divorce. When a divorce involves children, the court will decide the custody arrangements to meet the needs and interests of the children involved. In some cases, the court will award sole custody to one parent. More often, however, child custody will be shared between the parents and child visitation agreements will be created.
When joint custody is awarded to both parents, there are two types of custody involved: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make decisions which influence the child's life and physical custody is who the child actually lives with. Typically in a joint custody situation, one parent will have primary physical custody of the child and the other will have child visitation rights.
The divorcing parents have the legal right to determine the terms of child visitation agreements, so long as they are able to agree. This means that the parents have flexibility in deciding when the child will spend time with each parent, so long as child visitation agreements are approved by the family court. There are, however, several factors which prevent two parents from being able to successfully create child visitation agreements independent of the courts.
In some cases, like those involving violence or significant hostility, it is virtually impossible for two parents to agree to the terms of child visitation agreements. In other cases, the parents may have been successful in developing child visitation agreements, but there were problems in its implementation. When one parent is consistently late for child visitation, skips visits altogether, does not inform the custodial parent of where s/he is taking the child, or there is a hostile parent relationship, the court may intercede to implement child visitation agreements.
When the court determines child visitation agreements, the product is typically referred to as the child visitation schedule. Both parents are bound by the terms of court ordered child visitation agreements. Compliance with child visitation agreements is mandatory, even if the child does not wish to visit the non-custodial parent. The only exception to this rule is when the child's welfare is compromised.
Court ordered child visitation agreements will typically allow the non custodial parent to have the child every other weekend, some weekdays, and some holidays. In some cases, the court will declare that all non custodial parental visits be supervised by a neutral third party adult. At any time, a parent can request a court review of child visitation agreements to make necessary modifications. Again, child visitation agreements will always reflect the best interests of the children involved.
More information on custody:
Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.