Your Guide to Custody and Visitation Schedule in Missouri


Do you need information about child custody and visitation schedules? Contact The Carson Law Frim to learn more.

What Is a Custody and Visitation Schedule?

Are you a parent going through a separation or divorce? In family law, few matters are as sensitive and emotionally charged as child custody and visitation arrangements. These agreements, often at the heart of divorce and separation proceedings, determine not only where a child will reside but also the extent to which both parents can maintain meaningful relationships with their child. Creating a well-structured custody and visitation schedule is the cornerstone of any successful custody arrangement.

In simple terms, a custody and visitation schedule is a plan that determines the amount of time you can spend with your younger children while sharing parenting time with your ex-spouse. The custody and visitation schedule is essential in the child’s life and affects a child’s emotional, social, and physical development.

This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of custody and visitation schedules, offering a detailed exploration of what constitutes a parenting plan and how you can create one with the help of an attorney. Let’s dive right in!

Understanding Custody and Visitation Schedule

The custody and visitation orders can be flexible or detailed, depending on your preferences and custody-sharing mechanisms, which include:

  • Sole physical custody: It is a legal arrangement in which one parent (custodial parent) has exclusive rights and responsibilities for a child’s upbringing. This parent makes major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, such as education and healthcare, without needing input or consent from the other parent. The non-custodial parent typically has limited visitation rights.
  • Joint custody: Joint custody is a legal arrangement where both parents share equal responsibility for their child’s upbringing. They collaborate on important decisions, and the child typically spends significant time with both parents. Joint custody aims to maintain the child’s close relationship with both parents after a divorce or separation.

A custody and visitation schedule comprises two types of schedules:

  • A residential schedule
  • A holiday schedule

Let’s look at these concepts in greater detail.

Residential Schedule

In the context of a custody and visitation schedule, a residential schedule outlines the specific times and dates when a child will reside with each parent in shared custody or visitation cases. It details the routine living arrangements, including weekdays, weekends, and non-holiday periods, to ensure a clear and consistent plan for the child’s time spent with each parent. This schedule provides consistency and reliability. It also helps prevent disputes and provides stability for the child.

So, what method do the parents use for dividing the parenting time? Parents may use different ways, including:

  1. Alternate weekends: The child spends every other weekend with one parent, typically from Friday evening to Sunday evening.
  2. Midweek or overnight visits: The child stays overnight with the non-custodial parent on specific weekdays, in addition to the regular visitation schedule.
  3. Extended weekend: The child spends an extended period, such as a long weekend, with the non-custodial parent, often including a Monday or Friday.
  4. Split week: The child alternates between parents every few days during the week, allowing both parents to have equal weekday and weekend time.
  5. Alternating weeks: The child alternates between parents on a weekly basis, spending one whole week with each parent.
  6. 2-2-3 rotation: The child follows a repeating cycle/pattern of two days with one parent, two days with the other, and three days with the first parent, ensuring frequent transitions.
  7. 2-2-5 rotation: The child alternates two days with each parent, with one parent having an extended five-day period, providing longer blocks of time with each parent.
  8. 3-4-4-3 rotation: This schedule involves three days with one parent and four days with the other, followed by a reversal, ensuring equal time with both parents over an eight-day cycle.

Holiday Schedule

The holiday schedule focuses on specific holidays and special occasions throughout the year. It determines where the child stays during holidays, birthdays, school breaks, and other significant holidays. The holiday schedule typically takes precedence over the regular residential schedule during these designated times. So, how do the parents go about this? The different methods available include:

  • Splitting: Splitting holiday schedules divides holidays into specific time blocks, allowing each parent to have a part of the holiday, such as morning or evening, during different years.
  • Alternating: Alternating holiday schedules rotate the designated holidays each year. For instance, one parent celebrates a particular holiday with the child in even-numbered years, and the other does so in odd-numbered years.
  • Sharing: In sharing holiday schedules, both parents spend the holiday with the child, ensuring that the family is together during the celebration, promoting a sense of togetherness.
  • Fixed: Fixed holiday schedules assign specific holidays to each parent every year, with no rotation, providing consistency in holiday arrangements.

How to Create a Custody and Visitation Schedule

You may follow the process given below for creating a parenting plan for your child:

Step 1: Decide on the type of custody arrangement. The different types include:

  • Physical custody

  • Legal custody

  • Sole custody

  • Joint custody

Some considerations when deciding the custody arrangement include:

  • The children’s age

  • The kids’ needs

  • School schedule

  • Where the children live

  • Work schedules

Step 2: Determine the parenting time for each parent.

Step 3: Decide how you want to handle special occasions and holidays.

Step 4: Include additional terms and conditions you’ve agreed on. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement on specific periods, then the regular custody and visitation schedule will be as per the guidelines provided by the Missouri courts.

A Family Law Attorney Can Help You! 

Custody and visitation schedules are often complex to create. That’s because they often involve emotional, legal, and practical issues. But don’t worry; a family law attorney from The Carson Law Firm can help you with your child custody case in many ways. We can:

  • Advise you on your rights and obligations. We can also help you understand related matters like Missouri child custody relocation.
  • Negotiate with your ex-spouse in the interest of your child.
  • Formalize your custody and visitation schedule with the court.
  • Provide proof in a child custody modification case.
  • Represent you in court if any disputes arise with your ex-spouse.
  • Offer legal advice and guidance during the custody agreement drafting process. We can help you understand your options and how to protect your interests as a parent.

Why Choose The Carson Law Firm for Your Custody and Visitation Case?

A custody and visitation case is often complex due to the sensitive nature of the matter. Lawyers from The Carson Law Firm can assist you. We help our clients with legal advice on family law matters and offer legal representation for cases such as divorce and child support.

Our team of experienced lawyers offers personalized legal services for your case. Contact us today and book a consultation. Let us help you protect your child visitation rights!

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