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Why you can't make assumptions when it comes to visitation

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce for many people is not seeing a portion of their paycheck go toward alimony or their former home sold, but rather adjusting to their new lifestyle. Indeed, this is particularly true for those people with children, as they may slowly come to the realization that they likely won't be spending as much time with them as they would like.

It's important for those parents in these situations to understand that just because they likely won't be awarded primary physical custody doesn't mean that they will see their relationship with their children diminished.

In general, if you are able to cooperate with the parent awarded primary custody and it's in the best interests of the child for them to have regular contact with you, the court will likely award you visitation rights.

Interestingly enough, there are a few ways in which visitation can be awarded here in Arkansas.

Liberal visitation

If you and your soon-to-be former spouse are on good terms, meaning you can reach mutually acceptable agreements absent the involvement of attorneys or the courts, there's a good chance the court may grant what is known as "liberal" visitation.

As implied by the name, this means that it will be left up to you, the parents, to decide how often, where and when visitation should occur. These types of arrangements provide for more flexibility and, perhaps more significantly, can make things easier for children.

Standard visitation  

If you and your soon-to-be former spouse cannot agree on anything no matter what or just aren't quite to the point where you can communicate amicably, there's a good chance the court will order a standard visitation schedule.

This is likely what you envision when you hear the term visitation, meaning arrangements whereby you have the kids every other weekend, alternating holidays and/or for longer stretches over summer vacation.

What the following serves to underscore is that the visitation and/or child custody process is often not as cut and dried as parents might imagine. Indeed, those with any questions or concerns about this very important issue should give serious consideration to speaking with an experienced legal professional.

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