What is Visitation?

People often ask, “What is visitation?” Typically, this refers to time that the non-primary custodial parent has. If it’s an every other weekend custody arrangement, then maybe we refer to the parent as having visitation, as opposed to custodial time.

But again, you can define visitation to mean whatever you want it to be. And at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily have some hard and fast definition. It’s going to be defined as whatever you want it to be defined as. You could have your separation agreement state that an every other weekend schedule is referred to as custodial time, or you can refer to it as visitation. Legally, it makes no difference what you refer to it as.

The takeaway here is, don’t get hung up in terminology. So often people will come flying into our office, waving an agreement saying, “I’m never signing this, I’m never signing this. It says, he has sole custody. I will never agree to that.” And then when you actually look at it, maybe that just refers to him having final decision making power, but you have more physical custody time. At the end of the day, you may be okay with that.

Don’t get hung up in the terminology. Don’t get wrapped up in what you hear other people say. It’s going to be up to you to define those terms. And if it’s not up to you, then it’s up to the judge to define those terms.

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