Visitation (also called “time-share”) is the plan for how the parents will share time with the children.  A parent who has the children less than half of the time has visitation with the children. Visitation orders are varied, depending on the best interests of the children, the situation of the parents, and other factors. In general, visitation can be:

  • Visitation according to a schedule: Generally, it helps the parents and children to have detailed visitation plans to prevent conflicts and confusion, so parents and courts often come up with a visitation schedule detailing the dates and times that the children will be with each parent. Visitation schedules can include holidays, special occasions (like birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, and other important dates for the family), and vacations.
  • Reasonable visitation: A reasonable visitation order does not necessarily have details as to when the children will be with each parent. Usually, these orders are open-ended and allow the parents to work it out between them. This type of visitation plan can work if parents get along very well and can be flexible and communicate well with one another. But if there are ever disagreements or misunderstandings, this kind of an open schedule can cause issues between the parents, and the children may suffer as a result.
  • Supervised visitation: This is used when the children’s safety and well-being require that visits with the other parent be supervised by you, another adult, or a professional agency. Click for more information on supervised visitation. Supervised visitation is sometimes also used in cases where a child and a parent need time to become more familiar with each other, like if a parent has not seen the child in a long time and they need to slowly get to know each other again.
  • No visitation: This option is used when visiting with the parent, even with supervision, would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children. In these cases, it is not in the best interest of the children for the parent to have any contact with the children.

A parenting plan, also called a “custody and visitation agreement” or a “time-share plan,” is the parent’s written agreement about how much time the child will spend with each parent, and how the parents will make decisions about the child’s welfare and education. Learn what you should think about when deciding on a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your child, what should be in your parenting plan, and how to write up your parenting plan.

Find information about what children of different ages may need from you as they try to cope with separation or divorce.  Learn how to best work with your children and with their other parent to make sure your children can adjust to the changes in a loving and supportive environment.

When parents separate or get a divorce, their children are affected in many different ways. Get information to help you understand what your children may be going through so you can help them cope with your separation. You know your children best and you can use the information provided here to help them and come up with a parenting plan that is in their best interests.