Standard Visitation Schedules
Learn what you need to include and consider when faced with a standard visitation schedule. Ideas for custom provisions and using software tools.
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
Some courts have a designated standard custody schedule. Some courts do not officially claim to have a standard visitation schedule. Regardless of whether or not your court has an official standard visitation schedule in place or not, it is common practice for family courts to impose a basic, generic schedule when needed.
The rules and regulations pertaining to child custody vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you want to know the specific laws regarding child custody in your area, you should research your local family law legislation.
If your local court does not have an official standard schedule that they claim to use, you may want to consider asking other divorced parents in your area about the visitation schedules they have. Court mediators will also have this information.
You can use Custody X Change to help you create your visitation schedule whether you wish to follow a standard schedule or create your own customize one.
The purpose of a child visitation schedule is to establish the routine schedule in which the child will spend time with each of his or her parents. Once a schedule is ordered into effect by the court, it becomes part of a court order that both parents will be legally obligated to follow.
All visitation schedules should consist of these basic components:
A residential schedule. The residential schedule determines where the child will live and when he or she will be in the care of each parent. The visitation plan set forth in the residential schedule tends to repeat in a cycle. This provides the child with structure and stability.
A residential schedule should provide the child with frequent, ongoing contact with both parents.
If distance plays a factor in the situation and makes it difficult for a parent to see the child on a regular basis, you will need to create a long distance visitation schedule.
A holiday schedule. Your visitation schedule will need to provide your child with ample amounts of time with each parent for holidays and special occasions.
These holidays may include:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Day
- President’s Day
- Mother’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Father’s Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Veteran’s Day
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- New Year’s Eve
- The child’s birthday
- The parents’ birthdays
Most standard holiday visitation schedules involve the parents taking turns having the child on the various holidays in even and odd years.
For example, the mother would have the child on Thanksgiving in even years and the father would have the child on Christmas in even years. In odd years, the father would have the child on Thanksgiving and the mother would have the child on Christmas.
A vacation schedule. Standard visitation schedules typically give the non-custodial parent additional time with the child during school breaks. When school is out for Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Vacation, the non-custodial parent is given more time to spend with the child.
When you use Custody X Change to create your visitation schedule, the software automatically knows that holidays supersede the residential schedule. Your visitation calendar will always be accurate and you will be able to look at the entire year in advance to plan for vacations and other events.
“Standard” visitation schedules may vary, but they usually are very similar.
Here is a sample schedule from Tulsa County, Oklahoma:
- The non-custodial parent shall have the child:
Every other weekend from 6PM on Friday until 6PM on Sunday
- Every Wednesday from 6PM until 9PM
- Easter, in even years, from 6PM on Friday until 6PM on Sunday
- July 4th, in even years, from 6PM on July 3rd until 6PM on July 5th
- Fall Break, in even years, from the time school lets out until 7:30PM the night before school resumes
- Thanksgiving, in even years, from 6PM on Wednesday until 7:30PM on Sunday
New Year’s Day, in odd years, from noon until 9PM
- Spring Break, in odd years, from the time school lets out until 7:30PM the night before school resumes
- Memorial Day, in odd years, from 6PM on Friday until 6PM on Monday
- Labor Day in odd years, from 6PM on Friday until 6PM on Monday
- Christmas Vacation, in odd years, from 6PM on the day school lets out until 6PM on Christmas Eve
- Christmas Vacation, in even years, from 6PM on Christmas Even until 6PM on New Year’s Day
- Mother’s Day, with the mother, from 9AM until 9PM
- Father’s Day, with the father, from 9AM until 9PM
- The day before the child’s birthday, in odd years, from the time school (or daycare) gets out until 9PM or from 9AM until 9PM if the day before the child’s birthday falls on a weekend
- The child’s birthday, in even years, from the time school (or daycare) gets out until 9PM or from 9AM until 9PM if the child’s birthday falls on a weekend
- The child shall spend each parent’s birthday with that parent from the time school lets out until 9PM or from 9AM until 9PM if the birthday falls on a weekend
- Summer Vacation, for a period of thirty days, every year
- Liberal telephone communication
- Additional visitation as agreed upon by both parents
This is just one example of a standard visitation schedule. It may seem like a lot of detail to remember, but it is easy to create and keep track of your schedule when you use Custody X Change. You will be able to edit each holiday, select when the holiday starts and ends, and whether or not it is subject to even / odd years.