What reasonable visitation means

In some Minnesota divorces involving parents of young children, judges will order that one parent has primary physical custody and the other parent has reasonable visitation. This is a form of visitation that does not have a set schedule. Rather, it is determined between the parents.

Reasonable visitation is considered to be the preferred method for parents who are able to get along with each other reasonably well. The parents are left to decide what will work best for their respective schedules, making it more flexible than rigid schedules. What often happens is that the parent with primary custody will have the final say in visitation and would not have to agree to the other parent's proposals for visitation time.

In situations in which the custodial parent is not allowing visitation due to malice, the other parent may file a motion with the court in order to ask for a set visitation schedule. The court may take into account the custodial parent's refusal to allow visitation in making its decision. Because reasonable visitation depends on the ability of parents to cooperate, those who will receive visitation rights should let the judge know if it is unlikely that a flexible schedule will work and insist that the court order a set visitation schedule instead.

Visitation and child custody decisions are made by judges with the best interests of the child being a paramount consideration. In many cases, however, parents may be far more satisfied with an agreement that has been negotiated with the assistance of their respective family law attorneys rather than having a third party make the determination.

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