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Melissa A. Featherston

Visitation rights can be sticking point of separation, divorce

Child custody battles can take an emotional toll on both the parents and the children involved. Visitation is one area, in particular, that can spark conflict. A couple of tips may help individuals in Missouri make wise decisions when dealing with matters involving parental visitation rights.

A judge presiding over a divorce or separation may determine that one of the parents is entitled to have reasonable visitation. This means the parents must develop a plan for parental visitation time. This is the preferred method for determining the parents' visitation schedules because it enables both parents to plan around their own schedules and to cooperate with each other.

The parent with custodial rights, however, generally has more power over what is deemed reasonable visitation with regard to durations and times. The custodial parent does not have a legal duty to accept any proposed schedule for visitation. Still, if one parent is not being flexible in an effort to be malicious toward the other parent, a judge might consider this if that inflexible parent decides to ask for something at a later time.

Reasonable visitation can work if the two parents express a willingness to communicate in a rational manner. If two people are unable to do this, they may instead be given a visitation schedule that is fixed. Two people who are under a current plan for reasonable visitation that does not seem to be working may also return to the court and request a new arrangement. With proper legal guidance, both parties have the right to seek their best interests as well as those of their children when dealing with visitation rights in Missouri.

Source: FindLaw, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ", Accessed on Sept. 9, 2015

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