Old Visitation Law
“Visitation time” previously referred to the schedule for when the non-custodial parent would have the child in his or her care. The typical arrangement was that one parent was granted “residential custody” or “primary physical possession” of the child. That parent would have the children with him or her the majority of the time. The other parent was referred to as the “non-custodial” parent and would be granted “reasonable visitation”. A reasonable visitation schedule was commonly thought of as alternating weekends, one or two evening visits per week, alternating major holidays, two non-consecutive weeks each summer and on “special days” such as the child’s birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s day.
Current Visitation Law: “Parenting Time”
Under the existing law, the term “visitation time” has been replaced by “parenting time” and applies to both parents. In the vast majority of cases, a reasonable parenting time schedule for the parent whose residence is not designated the minor child’s primary residence and who does not have the child the majority of the time is the same as under the old law (i.e. alternating weekends, one or two evening visits per week, alternating major holidays, two non-consecutive weeks each summer and on “special days” such as the child’s birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s day). Ultimately, the only real practical change has strictly to do with the terminology used in divorce and family cases in the hopes of eliminating “custody fights” and to avoid establishing “winners” and “losers”. The legislature believed that the assignment of “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” for both parents was a more appropriate way of resolving issues between parents when relating to the care of their children.