During a divorce often the most important thing on the minds of both parents is child custody and visitation rights. Today most custody hearings will favour the mother of the children, and this means that the Father will then need to arrange ‘visitation rights’. The visitation rights then outline the times that Fathers are allowed to visit their children and to plan activities etc. This means that an ex-wife cannot prevent the Father from seeing the children during these hours, and that gives them the alone time with their children that they will be lacking the rest of the time.
These visitation rights of course also mean that the Father can stop the Mother from taking the children out of state, county or country if it makes their visitation impractical or impossible. This will require an injunction. Meanwhile any other behaviour interfering with the Father’s visitation time can be brought to court.
Should the Father believe that the visitation rights have been violated then it is not within their rights to withhold payment of child maintenance – this is an issue for court. Courts frown on the use of money as leverage, as they do on the use of verbal abuse in order to gain access. Similarly Fathers must return the children at the end of their allotted time and are not allowed to interfere with the Mother’s time outside of these visitation rights. Adhering to their visitation rights will improve any chances they may have of altering their times at later dates.
It is within the best interests of both parents as well as the children for parents to be understanding and to allow for slight changes and alterations to the visitations outside of court. For example should a parent be late returning children due to traffic then it is not constructive to bring too much attention to this issue – particularly if it is a rare occurrence. Meanwhile should a parent plan a holiday or trip then under most circumstances you should relinquish your visitation rights for that time – particularly if you hope to have the same treatment in future.
When you are deciding on which visitation hours to fight for there is much to consider. Of course a 50/50 split is a very preferable arrangement (usually this will be a week-on/week-off scenario), but not always convenient – particularly with school runs and work hours colliding. As such many arrangements see Father’s gaining access to the children for weekends. There is a bit of disagreement about whether weekends or week days are considered the best ‘quality’ time – while weekends are shorter the children are more likely to be home during the day (particularly younger children) rather than at school. Meanwhile however, weekdays could be seen as the more ‘normal’ environment for children making that house their real ‘home’. Any visitation agreement should be based on what is most suitable for the children.