Visitation refers to how the parents will share time with the children. Many parents mutually agree how they want to spend time with the children, and most final orders will say that “visitation is as the parents mutually agree and failing mutual agreement” they will follow a specified order. Often the specified order is the legislatively created standard possession order (“SPO”).
The standard possession order is designed to apply to a child three years of age or older. For a child less than three, the court shall render an order that is appropriate under the circumstances and shall render a prospective order to take effect on the child’s third birthday which presumptively is the SPO.
Some parents find the SPO unworkable for their family and they create a customized schedule that works better for their family taking into consideration the ages of the children, the parents’ travel and/or work schedules, the children’s activities, and the distance between households.
Even if parents create a customized visitation schedule, they often opt to follow the SPO for certain holidays and school breaks. The SPO does not address all holidays that may be significant to parents and children including Jewish holidays. Any holiday or event significant to a family can be added to the final court order.
Some parents work with parenting coordinators, mental health professionals, or child specialists to develop a schedule of time with the children.