What Kind of Visitation Schedule Can I Expect?

We have already discussed the issue of sole versus joint custody and explained the idea of being a primary residential parent The way the court divides time for the children to spend with each parent is called visitation or sometimes, "parenting time."  After the Kentucky Supreme Court case of Pennington v. Marcum, the courts have begun using the phrase "time sharing."  The Appendix of the Family Court Rules of Procedure and Practice include model time-sharing/visitation guidelines for courts to use in establishing time-sharing schedules.

Most courts have developed a standard visitation schedule to be used in each circuit.  There is not a statewide standard schedule, but most of these schedules tend to be very similar.  Most of them consist of alternating weekends and a shorter visit on the weeks when the non-residential parent does not have weekend visitation.  Many of these schedules define the weekend as being from Friday evening to Sunday evening, but some go through Monday morning.  The alternate week visit is usually only a few hours (usually enough time to share a meal), but some circuits allow an overnight visit.  These schedules also divide up the school breaks, holidays, and set out certain other ground rules for the visitation.

Although it is not guaranteed that the court will resort to the standard visitation schedule, if the parties cannot agree on a time sharing arrangement, the standard schedule is the easiest thing for the court to fall back on.  The flip side of this knowledge is that if you are in settlement negotiations or mediation and the other party will not agree to anything other than the standard schedule, you have no incentive not to go to court to make a play for more time.  If you do go to court, you must make sure you are prepared to present the best possible case you can for the court to do something other than the standard visitation schedule.  A skilled family law attorney can explain to you the most persuasive way to present your evidence and the likely outcomes.

If you have more questions about how visitation and time sharing work in Kentucky, please contact us at the Alford Law Office.

Photo by bantamania

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