Seven Sample Child Visitation Schedules

Not so long ago, noncustodial parents usually ended up with a standard visitation schedule: every other weekend, plus some holidays and a couple of weeks in the summer.

These days, though, many couples develop their own visitation plan during mediation. After all, they know their family’s needs and personalities far better than a judge. Even in hotly contested custody cases, each parent must submit a proposed parenting plan to the court.

That’s generally good news for parents, but it also means that parents have the burden of figuring out what will work. All custody and visitation decisions must be in the best interests of the children. Judges may consider such things as the child’s age, ability to adjust and relationship with each parent. They also consider the ability of each parent to be involved in the child’s life and cooperate with the other parent.

There are infinite variations on visitation schedules for non-custodial parents. Here are some examples:

Child VisitationEvery Other Weekend. This is the traditional standard visitation plan. The non-custodial parent has the children every other weekend, typically from 6 p.m. on Friday until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Every Other Weekend, Plus a Weeknight Visit. The children are with the noncustodial parent from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday, every other week. They also have an evening visit with the noncustodial parent on one weeknight each week. For example, they may be with the noncustodial parent from 5:30-9 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Every Other Weekend, Plus a Weeknight Overnight. In addition to spending every other weekend with the noncustodial parent, the children have one weeknight overnight with the noncustodial parent each week.

Every Other Extended Weekend.  The noncustodial parent has the children every other weekend, but the weekends are extended by a day. So, the weekend might run from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Sunday, or from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Monday.

Every Other Extended Weekend, Plus a Weeknight Visit. The noncustodial parent has extended weekends, but also has time with the children one weeknight each week. For example, the noncustodial parent might have every other Thursday through Sunday, plus a visit from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Every Other Extended Weekend, Plus a Weeknight Overnight.  The noncustodial parent has visitation for an extended weekend and also has one overnight each week.

Every Other 5 Day Weekend. The noncustodial parent has a five day weekend every other week. So the noncustodial parent might have the children from Thursday at 6 p.m. until Monday at 6 p.m.; or from Friday at 6 p.m. to Tuesday at 6 p.m.

In addition to regular weekly visits, a visitation schedule will include plans for holidays and school vacations. A typical holiday and vacation visitation schedule might look like this:

  • Each parent has the children during Thanksgiving break every other year.
  • Each parent has the children during spring or Easter break every other year.
  • The custodial parent has the children during Christmas break until 2 p.m. on Christmas day, and the noncustodial parent has the children for the rest of Christmas break.
  • The noncustodial parent has the children for three to five weeks in the summer.
  • The mother has the children for Mother’s Day and the father has the children for Father’s Day.
  • The children spend Monday holidays (such as Memorial Day) with the parent who had them during the preceding weekend.

Visitation can take many forms, and there’s no one right answer for every family. A family law attorney can help you evaluate your options and prepare a parenting plan.

 

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