If you are separated or divorcing and you have children, you are going to need a visitation schedule.
What is a visitation schedule?
It is a plan that says where your child is going to be and when they will be there. It contains all the details about when the non-custodial parent will have visitation, where it will happen, where the child will spend weekends, holidays, and vacations, and who provides the transportation.
In this article, we will discuss:
- How to create a South Carolina child visitation schedule,
- What should be covered in your South Carolina child visitation schedule,
- Why you should reach an agreement regarding the South Carolina visitation schedule whenever possible, and
- What the standard visitation schedule in South Carolina looks like.
How Do You Create a Child Visitation Schedule?
Before creating a child visitation schedule, you must establish the type of child custody arrangement you will have. Then, you can create a schedule to coordinate your child’s custody, visitation, and transportation with your child’s other parent.
Your custody arrangement should account for both physical custody (where the child lives) and legal custody (who makes important educational, religious, or health decisions on behalf of the child), and the arrangements could include:
- Sole physical custody – where one parent is the primary caregiver while the other parent has regular visitation with the child,
- Joint physical custody – where both parents take turns as the primary caregiver and physical custody is split between the parents,
- Sole legal custody – where one parent is responsible for major decisions on behalf of the child,
- Joint legal custody – where both parents share responsibility for major decisions on behalf of the child but one parent has the final say-so, and
- Any combination of physical and legal custody.
Sole physical custody with visitation rights to the non-custodial parent is the most common physical custody arrangement, with joint legal custody, but the family court will approve other arrangements when the parties agree and it is in the best interests of the child.
Once you know which parent will be the primary caregiver and where the child will be living, then you must determine when the non-custodial parent will have visitation, where the visitation will be, and how the child will be transported to and from visitation.
What Should be Covered in a Child Visitation Schedule?
Your visitation schedule should include:
- A residency schedule – detailed information about where the child will live during the school year’s weekdays and weekends,
- When the non-custodial parent will take the child for visitation during the school year and where the child will stay during visitation,
- A summer schedule – whether the child will live with the non-custodial parent during the summer months,
- A schedule for winter breaks and spring breaks from school,
- A holiday schedule that lists all holidays and special occasions, when the holiday begins and ends, and which parent the child will stay with during each holiday, and
- A vacation schedule that covers pre-planned vacation time, the start and end dates, and which parent the child will stay with on those dates.
Other issues that should be covered in the child visitation schedule include:
- Who will be responsible for the child’s transportation,
- Where the parents will meet for the visitation exchange,
- Who will pay for transportation costs, and
- Who will pay for unanticipated costs related to the child’s transportation.
There may be other issues that the parents can anticipate and include in their visitation schedule. Remember, the goal of a visitation schedule is to avoid arguments and disputes down the road.
If there is a disagreement that cannot be resolved, the parents need only refer to the visitation schedule and the custody order. Or, if visitation rights or transportation issues must be resolved by the court, there is a court order in place that can be enforced.
Standard Child Visitation Schedule in SC:
If the parents cannot agree on the visitation schedule, the court will most likely order the “standard visitation schedule.” The parents may also simply agree to adopt the standard visitation schedule to simplify things, understanding that is what the court is likely to do anyway.
The standard visitation schedule in SC usually consists of:
- Visitation with the non-custodial parent every other weekend from 6:00p.m. on Friday evening until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening,
- Visitation with the non-custodial parent every other Wednesday after school until 8:00 p.m.,
- Visitation with the non-custodial parent for between three and four weeks during the summer, and
- Alternating holidays, switching them each year.
Which parent provides transportation and which parent is responsible for the costs of transportation will depend on where the parents live, the distance that must be traveled, and other circumstances that may vary from case to case.
Child Visitation Schedule Agreements:
Your visitation schedule should be created by agreement whenever possible. When the parties cannot agree, it will sometimes make sense to just agree to the standard visitation schedule that the court is likely to order anyway.
When the parties agree on the visitation schedule, the court will likely incorporate their agreement into the court’s final order if it is in the child’s best interests.
Questions About Child Visitation Schedules in SC?
If you are considering separation or divorce and need help with your child visitation schedule, call an experienced South Carolina divorce attorney now who can answer your questions and help to protect your rights during the process.
Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.
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