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Understanding child visitation schedules

When New Jersey parents split up or begin the divorce process, a child visitation schedule may be set so that the noncustodial parent gets to spend time with his or her children. In most cases, the child visitation schedule is ordered by the court and must be adhered to. If one or both parents violate the visitation order, there may be court penalties.

While the court usually encourages visitation time with the children, there are cases where agreeing to a visitation schedule can be difficult for parents. Some sets of parents might live too far apart to make a visitation schedule work feasibly, especially if one parent has to travel to see the children. The visitation schedule in this case could include the exact dates and times that the traveling parent can see the children. A visitation schedule may also be set for parents who have shared custody to make transitions between households easier for the children.

Depending on the family situation, the visitation may be supervised or unsupervised. Supervised visitation might be ordered depending on the needs of the children involved. As the children get older, the visitation schedule could change to accommodate their school schedules and activities.

Even if the parents remain friendly with each other during the separation and divorce, child custody matters can still be difficult for both the parents and the children. Whenever child custody issues do arise, the court tries to make decisions based on what is believed to be in the children's best interest. A family law attorney may work with a parent to provide proof to the court that the parent was the main childcare provider. If the other parent has primary custody of the children, the attorney may work with the court to create a visitation schedule that allows the parent to continue to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with the children.

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