What Is the Normal Child Visitation for Divorced Parents?

By Jennifer Williams

A non-residential parent can be worried and disheartened by the idea that he won't have enough time to continue to grow his relationship with his child. It helps to have a clear understanding of what normal, or standard, visitation is for divorced parents. The schedule won't be exactly the same in every state, but the guidelines are similar, and judges may deviate from the guidelines, based on the facts of your particular case.

A non-residential parent can be worried and disheartened by the idea that he won't have enough time to continue to grow his relationship with his child. It helps to have a clear understanding of what normal, or standard, visitation is for divorced parents. The schedule won't be exactly the same in every state, but the guidelines are similar, and judges may deviate from the guidelines, based on the facts of your particular case.

Standard Visitation

Many states have a standard visitation schedule that's imposed when parents cannot agree on their own routine. Some states' standard schedule is actually a group of schedules that differ by age or distance between the parents' residences. In some states such as Ohio and Arkansas, each county within the state has its own schedule set out by local rule that controls for divorces granted in that county.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Best Interests of the Child

Standardized schedules reflect what legislatures and judges consider in the best interests of children for most families within their jurisdictions. If standard visitation is imposed, judges may modify the schedule themselves to ensure the best interest of the child in a particular divorce is served. In Utah, for example, factors a judge considers when modifying standard visitation include any danger to the child posed by the non-residential parent or history of sub-standard parenting, financial inability to provide food and safe shelter, distance between parental residences, degree of involvement with child's school and extracurricular activities, "substantial and chronic" patterns of missed visitations, and even the child's preference, if age and maturity allow.

Distance Determined Visitation

In some states, the standard schedule differs depending on the distance between the parents' residences. For example, in Texas, for non-custodial parents who live less than 100 miles from the child, visitation consists of the first, third and fifth weekends, and Thursday evenings with an optional overnight; Christmas break is split between the parents, with the non-custodial parent taking the child on Christmas Day on even-numbered years. Thanksgiving, spring break and summer vacation are spent with the non-custodial parent on alternate years. The child splits his birthday between the parents and spends the non-custodial parent's birthday with him. For non-custodial parents living more than 100 miles from the child, the schedule may differ, by reducing visitation to one weekend per month without any weekday visitation, and summer vacation is extended to a maximum of 45 days.

Visitation by Age

In some states such as Delaware and Oklahoma, different standard schedules exist for different age groups. In Delaware, from birth to 18 months, the non-custodial parent gets the child every other weekend and two weeknight evenings. At 18 months to 5 years, the weeknight evenings are converted to overnights. For ages 5 and up, time is shared equally between the parents, with an option to alternate entire weeks between the parents. Holidays are split into two groups: Group one consists of the following: Easter (or any religious holiday), July 4th, Halloween and Christmas Day; group two consists of Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Parents will alternate even- or odd-numbered years for group one and group two holidays. Winter and spring breaks are split between the parents, and children will alternate weeks between parents during summer break.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Arkansas Laws for Noncustodial Parents and Visitation

References

Related articles

What Are the Standard Texas Child Visitation Laws?

When parents divorce, the court must decide how to split their time with their children. This split is normally made through custody and visitation terms in their decree. In Texas, child custody is referred to as possession and access. Texas courts use a standard possession order rather than a standard visitation schedule.

How Is Odd & Even Visitation Determined for a Child in Custody?

Losing holidays with your children is one of the more heartbreaking aspects of divorce. Unless you and your ex-spouse get along extraordinarily well – so much so that you're willing to continue sharing important occasions after you part ways – your kids are going to spend certain holidays with your ex and others with you. Whether issued by the court or agreed to by you and the other parent, an odd-even visitation schedule strives to create some balance so that neither of you miss the really big days year after year.

Joint Child Custody: How to Create Your Child Visitation Schedule

You have the power to negotiate a visitation schedule that works well for you. If you and your ex-partner agree to share joint child custody, you can generally create a child custody and visitation schedule with or without a court order. When you enter into the custody agreement, you are both bound by its terms. However, the agreement cannot legally be enforced until the court approves it and issues a child custody order.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Standard Visitation for South Carolina Child Custody

When you divorce, you and your spouse can agree to a custody arrangement that works best for both of you and that is in ...

Texas Law Regarding the Joint Custody of a Newborn

When Texas parents divorce, the court splits custody between the parents based on the best interests of the children ...

An Example of a Child Custody Schedule

Continued contact with both parents after divorce is important to a child's development. Unless there has been ...

Utah State Visitation Laws

When parents divorce, they may agree on a child custody and visitation arrangement that works for them and their child. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED