I'm often asked about a standard visitation. What I tell them is although in some courts something is considered standard, in another court, that might not be standard. But generally a standard visitation is alternating weekends, alternating holidays, and then some time in the summer. But that can vary greatly.
For example, alternating weekends could be just every other weekend, or it could be set out like first and third for one parent and second and fourth for the other parent and then you alternate the fifth weekends that occur four times during the year. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. If you choose the numbered weekends, then it's easy if things get confused to look at a calendar and determine which weekend of the month it is. Whereas if it is every other weekend, then you have to pull your calendar out and go back to the very beginning and start calculating every other weekend. But some people think every other weekend is more fair. Then they don't have to keep up with those fifth weekends. Or they may have a job where they work every other weekend.
When alternating holidays, sometimes what is considered a holiday for visitation purposes becomes a big issue. Generally, I find the more specific someone is about including every single holiday, the more difficult it is to keep track of. For example, the child's birthday and the parents birthdays, those don't always fall on the same day of the week or on a weekend. If school is in session, then those things become problematic. Most of the time, I recommend that you just consider that a birthday season and you celebrate either the weekend before or the weekend after, whenever it is that you have visitation. But your situation may be different. You may live far apart and that may be an important time. If so, you just need to discuss that with your attorney.
There are multiple ways to handle summer visitation. Some people prefer a standard two weeks where each parent gets a set of two weeks that they get to visit with the child in the summer and otherwise they do the every other weekend. Some people alternate week on week off. Some people take a whole month. It really just depends on your situation.
And then you also have judges’ preferences. You may have one judge that prefers to do some kind of a standard where weekend visitation is from Thursday after school until the child is returned to school on the following Monday. While other judges say absolutely not. They prefer a a standard Friday at six to Sunday at six. Therefore, it helps if you know which judge has the case.
Additionally, a standard visitation is not appropriate for everyone. For example, if you have a parent that works every single weekend. Then every other weekend visitation doesn't make sense. Maybe that parent is off every Tuesday and Wednesday and so for them, their weekends may be the Tuesday and Wednesday. Or you may have a firefighter that has a schedule that rotates. But that parent may know their schedule a month in advance. In that situation you might have an agreement where that parent has to provide at least 30 days notice before exercising visitation for the next month, but they get a certain number of days or overnights. Thus, even though people ask for a standard visitation, a standard may not apply in their situation. It is best to talk to your attorney.
There are many visitations plans on the internet. You can take a look at them to see if any of those work for you.
I hope this helped explain what a standard visitation is. If you think it will help someone that you know, please share, and if you would like more information about divorce and family law in Georgia, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Nedra K. Howard
Nedra has represented clients in matters relating to divorce, separate maintenance, child custody and support, family violence protective orders, adoption, prenuptial agreements, business disputes and litigation, personal injury, property damage, and wills.
John B. MIller & Associates, P.C.
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Peachtree City, GA 30269
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