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Visitation rights are normally granted to the non-custodial parent upon the final determination in a divorce or child custody proceeding. Although visitation rights are normally dealt with simultaneously with custody issues, visitation is not the same thing as custody. O.C.G.A. § 19-9-22(a). Visitation, otherwise known as parenting time, includes set times during which a non-custodial parent may visit, either individually or in a supervised setting, with their minor child or children...

Sample Visitation Plans

Traditional Visitation ("Standard Visitation")

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
A A A A A B B
B A A B A A A

Under this plan, that traditionally has been used the most for outlining custody, the primary custodian (A) would have most of the parenting time with the minor child(ren). The secondary custodian (B) would have parenting time from Friday after school (or starting at 6 p.m.) until Sunday at 6pm (or Monday morning at school) every other weekend and dinner(s)/overnight visitation during the off week. The choice between pickups and drop-offs at school v. at 6 pm varies based upon the needs of the parties in each case with a preference towards drop offs at school to avoid conflict that may be caused by an in- person exchange.

Extended Traditional

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
A A A A B B B
B A A A B A A

Similar to the traditional visitation plans, this format has an every other weekend approach. The extra day allows for the noncustodial parent (B) to have extended visitation with the child(ren). As in the traditional example, pickups and dropoffs can occur either at school or at a designated time. This hybrid of joint visitation and traditional visitation has been growing in popularity over recent years.

Weekly Exchange (Joint Custody)

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
A A A A A A A
B B B B B B B

This custody arrangement has also been popular. Obviously, it's a week on/week off format that requires extended time away from the other parent. As a result, this format is slightly disfavored as of late.

2/2/5 (also referred to as 2/2/3) (Joint Custody)

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
B A A B B A A
A A A B B B B

This plan is a relatively new version of the weekly exchange schedule and provides for a similar 50/50 joint custody arrangement. This plan, however, breaks the monotony of the weekly exchange schedule and provides its own level of certainty for the child(ren) involved. Since each parent has two designated nights for visitation during the week, it allows a parent to schedule day care and extracurricular activites on a consistent basis that was generally prevented under the week on/week off type of schedule. Additional, this plan provides each parent with alternating full weekends with the child.

Pros

  • Less transfers during the school week
  • Allows for work related travel during the week

Pros

  • Allows more visitation time with the non-custodial parent
  • Generally maintains a home base for the child during school

Pros

  • The minor child has equal time with each parent.

Pros

  • Children don't have to wait whole week to see both parents
  • Great for ensuring a child is able to participate in activites that happen on a consistent day of the week
  • Easier to remember schedule during the week - if your parent time is on Wednesday, it is always on Wednesday.
  • Alternating full weekends with both parents
  • 50/50 Joint Custody

Stepping Stones for Younger Children

If you are considering a visitation schedule for children who are below the age of three years old, you may want to speak with a pediatric therapist or psychiatrist to determine the custody arrangement that is best for your young, developing child. If you are unsure how to contact a child therapist, or if you would like to discuss in detail visitation schedules that may be the best for your children, contact an attorney specializing in matters of child custody and visitation. The attorneys at Meriwether & Tharp have decades of combined experience in these matters, and would be more than glad to assist you.

In general, with very young children, there seems to be support for short, frequent visitations. The rationale is that it allows for strong bonds to develop with the child and each parent. It is common that in these situations we will have multiple steps in the process that may go from shorter, more frequent visits, towards one of the more common plans referenced above at school age (or younger).

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Additional Visitation Issues

  • Supervised Visitation

    When there are allegations or prior instances of family violence, child abuse, neglect, drug abuse or alcohol dependence, a judge may decide that a third person should be present for any visits between the non-custodial parent and child. This arrangement is referred to as supervised visitation...

  • Contact with the Child during the Other Parent's Parenting Time

    When discussing child custody and visitation with your soon-to-be ex-spouse or your attorney, keep in mind that visitation does not have to just be when you physically see your children. With the advent of technology, there are many ways to have “visitation” with your children, even when you are physically not with them...

  • Summer Visitation

    Whether you are currently going through a divorce or have already gone through a divorce, a summer visitation schedule is something that you and your estranged or former spouse should try to agree on. Summer camp and other extracurricular activities often take up a large majority of the children’s time. Thus, it is important that you and your co-parent are on the same page about these activities and how they may impact visitation...

  • Holiday Visitation

    The holidays can be a particularly difficult time if you are recently divorced or still going through a divorce, especially when children are involved. Holiday visitation can often be a challenging issue for parents to deal with or come to an agreement on because both parents must agree to spending time away from their children during some holidays...

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