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Understanding visitation in a child custody plan

A recent post on this Wisconsin family law blog introduced readers to the two main forms of custody that parents may retain in the wake of a divorce. These two forms are legal custody and physical custody. While legal custody involves a parent's power to make decisions about their child's life, physical custody involves the right of a parent to have their child live in their home.

If a parent is denied physical custody of their child they may have concerns over when and how they will be able to spend time with their son or daughter. Without the right to have a child live in their home a parent may fear that their bond with their child will be quickly eroded. In situations where a parent will not have physical custody of their child they may be able to secure visitation rights to protect their parent-child relationship.

Visitation can take on different forms based on the needs of the family to which it attaches. For example, a parent may be fully capable of caring for their child but may lack the time for physical custody; in such a case the parent may be granted regular unsupervised visitation with their child. If, though, a parent is denied physical custody because they are suspected of harming or abusing their child, that parent may only be able to have supervised, limited visitation with them or may be fully denied any access to their child.

Visitation schedules can be negotiated when parents are establishing their post-divorce parental rights and custody plans. The support of a family law attorney as a strong advocate and source of information can help a parent fight for their rights and the preservation of their relationship with their child.

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