What does it mean if a divorce agreement gives me thethe right to visitmy children “at reasonable times and places”?

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What does it mean if a divorce agreement gives me thethe right to visitmy children “at reasonable times and places”?

Does the above statement allow me to take my children for outings or for weekend trips or am I limited to visiting them only in their mother’s home? My wife’s attorney drew up an agreement and though it sounds correct, I wanted to ask if there could be any ambiguity about this statement: “Petitioner is awarded the care, custody and control of the minor children of the parties, KH and CH. Respondent shall have the right to visit said children at reasonable times and places.” I am trying to make this split amicable but certainly do not want to give up any rights in visiting my children.

Asked on September 10, 2010 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Arlene Kock

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This answer should not replace the advice you should seek in an office conference with an attorney skilled in the field of California Family Law.

The term reasonable visitation relates to a flexible parenting plan with no specific dates or time periods. Even with the best co-parenting efforts, this kind of unstructured agreement can create more problems and confusion than it solves.  I've watched the evolution of parenting agreements for the last three decades of my law practice and from that have learned that the best parenting plan is the one with specifics. If the parents really get along, then there can be a more relaxed arrangement with the insurance you can always fall back on the court ordered specific parenting plan you have designed in the event there is a falling out or dispute that arises affecting the parenting relationship. In difficult parenting relationships, having specific dates times and places removes any doubt as to who is supposed to have the child(ren) and when. Get a specific parenting plan clearly spelled out in your agreement to ensure you and the children are protected.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Ok so you did not hire an attorney thorough this whole process but it is time to take the agreement to someone for a consultation as to what is going on and what the terms of the agreement mean. May I ask: what is a reasonable time and place?  And also may I ask: who is going to decide that?  You?  Your ex-wife?  Both of you?  What is she objects.  Can she have you brought back to court for "violating" the agreement?  It may be difficult to prove the violation true, but who needs to be dragged back to court? Agreements these days geenrally have stated dates, times, lists of holidays, etc., so that there is not an issue in the future.  You may want the split to be amicable but the rest of your life never will be unless things are spelled out for everyone - including the Judge - to see.  Good luck.


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