Zachary A. VanDyke, PA
Panama City Attorney
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Reasonable and fixed visitation

When two parents in Florida decide to end their relationship, it can be a very emotional time not only for them, but also for any children they have. While sometimes a parenting plan can be reached out of court, other times the parents need to turn to a judge to issue a child custody and visitation order. In general, there are two types of visitation: reasonable visitation and fixed visitation.

Sometimes a court grants one parent "reasonable visitation" with his or her child. When that happens, it is up to each parent to determine a visitation plan. This may work well if the parents are on good enough terms that they can work together in their child's best interest. This type of visitation also offers more flexibility, as the parents can structure the visitation plan around their various work and personal calendars.

However, things do not always run so smoothly. Sometimes, when one parent is granted custody of the child, and the other parent is granted reasonable visitation, the custodial parent ends up having more of a say as to what a reasonable visitation schedule should be. This is because when it comes to reasonable visitation, no party is legally bound to agree to a plan offered by the other party. That being said, if a custodial parent wrongfully prevents the noncustodial parent from exercising his or her right to reasonable visitation, the court may note this if the noncustodial parent moves the court for something else in the future.

If parents are not able to cooperate well enough to make reasonable visitation work, then a "fixed visitation" plan may be ordered instead. In a fixed visitation plan, the court will determine when the noncustodial parent will spend time with his or her child. For example, the noncustodial parent may have the child with him one weeknight and every-other weekend. Fixed visitation schedules may not be as flexible as reasonable visitation schedules, but they do offer the child with a sense of much-needed stability.

In the end, whether it is reasonable visitation or fixed visitation that is awarded, what is important to remember is that the best interests of the child should come first. Even if parents can no longer be in a relationship with each other, they should not let their animosity prevent the child from having the and parental relationships he or she needs to grow and thrive.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ," Accessed May 15, 2017

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Zachary A. Vandyke, P.A.
502 Harmon Ave
Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-851-0864
Fax: 850-215-6459
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