If you are a parent in the middle of a child custody case, you might encounter the concept of reasonable visitation. Wisconsin judges might award fixed visitation, with specific times and even places for visitation to take place, or reasonable visitation, leaving the parents to negotiate what this means for their family.
The pros and cons of reasonable visitation
Parents who are in an amicable relationship might find the idea of reasonable visitation appealing. Some of the benefits it can provide families include:
- Control over how time with the children will be divided between the parents
- Flexibility about parenting time so that each parent’s schedule is considered
- Ease of making changes to the parenting time schedule when surprises or emergencies pop up
- Space for parents to continue with a positive relationship while focusing on the best interest of the children
However, in some cases, reasonable visitation might not be successful. These cases include times when the parents cannot agree on what reasonable visitation means or are unable to commit to the reasonable visitation schedule they had agreed to.
Defining reasonable visitation
Children usually benefit from spending time with both parents, even when one is the custodial parent and the other has a non-custodial role. Reasonable visitation might be defined slightly differently for every family, as the needs of the members of the family will need to be considered when creating a parenting schedule that works. However, reasonable visitation needs to include enough time spent with the non-custodial parent so that the child can continue to build a bond with that parent.
When parents cannot agree on reasonable visitation, they can request a change to their custody order for fixed visitation. Having this issued by the court might help prevent conflicts.