The New “Standard Visitation”
This year marks the first year of service for Judge Jeremy Taylor, the newest Circuit Judge for the Cherokee/DeKalb County Circuit. Judge Taylor currently rules over domestic relations cases such as divorces and divorce modifications. One of the areas Judge Taylor has worked to change is the “standard” visitation for non-custodial parents in divorce and domestic relations cases. Commonly, standard visitation has meant every other weekend from Friday at 6:00 to Sunday at 6:00, plus 3 weeks in the summer and certain split holidays, except where the parents live great distances apart. However, as Judge Taylor explains in his standard visitation order “The Court firmly believes that the parent who does not reside with the child(ren) should have, and exercise, liberal visitation rights.”
Accordingly, Judge Taylor’s new standard visitation provides much more visitation to the non-custodial parent. Under the new standard visitation schedule, the non-custodial parent still visits every other weekend, but the visitation is expanded from 6:00 p.m. on Friday until 8:00 a.m. on the following Monday, when the non-custodial parent shall take the children to school, or day care, or return the child to the other parent, as the case may be. Additionally, in the event that a “Major Monday Holiday” (defined below) falls on the following Monday, and it is the non-custodial parent’s year to exercise such holiday, the weekend visit shall extend until 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
The non-custodial parent also enjoys visitation on the Thursday following the weekend during which the non-custodial parent exercised visitation from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. the next morning, when the non-custodial parent shall take the child(ren) to school, or day care, or return to the other parent. The non-custodial parent also receives the Tuesday of each off-week from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. the next morning. An “off-week” is defined as a week during which the non-custodial parent did not have weekend visitation in the immediately preceding weekend.
The non-custodial parent still spends every other spring break with the child(ren), but is given extra time during the summer. Under the new standard visitation order, the non-custodial parent receives fourteen consecutive days of visitation during the month of June, and fourteen (14) consecutive days of visitation during the month of July.
Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are treated as they have always been, along with the parents’ splitting time during the child(ren)’s birthday; however, Judge Taylor’s new order allows for several more holidays to be shared between the parents. In fact, Easter, Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, President’s Day, National Memorial Day, and Labor Day are all split between the parents.
This visitation schedule is applicable for those parents who live up to 150 miles from each other. For those parents who live outside of that range, a different visitation schedule applies.