When there are children involved, there will be an arrangement regarding custody and visitation. Custody can be joint or sole to one parent with access to the other. The level of constructive communication between the parents will be an important factor for a court to consider if joint custody is desired. A court will use the best interests of the child standard when setting forth a visitation schedule for a noncustodial parent, and in fact in all matters involving children. Each case is decided strictly on its own set of facts.
What Does A Court Consider When Deciding Child Visitation?
There are several factors that a court will consider in determining visitation. First, a court will consider the age of the child. It may be better for a younger child to remain with the primary caregiver while older children’s interests, desires and preferences could be relevant. A visitation attorney may be appointed to represent the interests of the children if the parents do not agree on what those are. A court will also consider the health and special needs of a child. It may be that the child’s special needs are met the best in a certain educational or geographical location. The court will examine each parent’s history of supporting the child, to include financial as well as actual physical and emotional care. Also relevant is the physical and emotional health of the parents themselves. These are just some of the factors that a court will consider.
Does Mediation Cover Child Visitation?
As with other aspects of divorce, mediation is often a preferred alternative when determining child custody and visitation arrangements. When the parties determine their own custody and visitation scheme, they are often more satisfied with the arrangement then they would be if the court ordered the arrangement, and they will likely be more willing to comply. Custody and visitation mediation is also often faster and much less expensive than litigation. An experienced mediator will be able to guide the parents through all of the relevant questions and aspects of determining who should have physical custody and what visitation arrangements should be.
A mediator will examine with the parents a variety of issues. One important factor will be the child’s current educational setting and the impact of any changes on education if the child were to move to a new location. Parents should also consider education in light of a desire for joint custody. Joint physical custody situations ore often viable only in situations where the parents both live in the same school district for school age children. Another important aspect for many couples will be the religious education of the child and where and how religious needs can best be met. These are just a few of the factors that a mediator can assist you in examining to help determine what is in the best interests of your child or children.