Legal Information > Custody
The visitation arrangements determine the scope and length of the meetings between the children and the custodial parent.
Usually visitation arrangements are determined by the court, according to a recommendation of a welfare officer or in cases of a greater dispute, according to recommendations of an expert appointed by the court (usually a psychologist or psychiatrist).
The court may deviate from these recommendations.
In some cases, the court authorizes the welfare officer to set the visitation arrangements, which then has the validity of a court decision.
As any other judicial decisions, the parents are obligated to obey the court decision on visitation.
While the non custodial parent can waive his right to meet with his children, the custodial parent has to allow the visitation to take place, or else the custodial parent will be in breach of the court order for preventing the contact between the children and the non-custodial parent.
It should be noted, that the guiding principle in setting the visitation arrangements is the child's best interests. Other consideration are : the child's age, the distance between parents' homes, the living conditions of the non-custodial parent, the quality of the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent and the ability of the non-custodial parent to look after the child during his visit.
A common visitation arrangement includes visiting the non-custodial parent twice a week on the after noon and on a weekend every fortnight.
In recent years, due to the growing involvement of both parents in their children's lives, in many cases the courts allow sleep-overs at the non-custodial parent's home on weekdays and/or allow long weekends.