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What are reasonable visitation rights?

If the judge determined that you'd have reasonable visitation rights to see your child after a divorce, you may be concerned about exactly what this means. Who determines what is reasonable and how often will you get to see your child?

What you should know is that the court is trying to restrict you as little as possible. The judge knows you and your spouse have busy schedules. Being ordered to see a child at exactly a certain time every week may not work. Using the term "reasonable visitation" simply means that you and your ex can sit down and find a flexible plan that works for both you. It means you have a legal right to see your child, but you both, as the child's parents, get to decide when that happens.

This isn't possible in every case. Some parents don't get along after a divorce. The parent with custody of the child may try to keep his or her ex from ever seeing that child, perhaps simply out of spite.

By stating that you get reasonable visitation rights, the judge is saying that you and your spouse are still on good enough terms to work together and find a plan that respects your own needs and the best interests of the child. It puts you in charge and ensures that a court order doesn't strictly govern how you use your time or when you see your own child.

This flexibility can be tremendously helpful for busy parents who are still civil with one another, but it is important to keep your own rights in mind. If your ex stops cooperating and it becomes hard to see your child, you may need to seek a modification with a more direct order.

Source: FIndLaw, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ," accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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