Alabama Standard Visitation (Shelby County)

I thought it would be interesting to post the standard visitation schedule we currently use in Shelby County, Alabama. Obviously visitation specifics can be negotiated and tweaked, but this is a good starting point for reference.

Alabama Standard Visitation Schedule

  A. MID-WEEK AND WEEKEND TIMESHARING: From 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday evening of each week, and from 5:00 P.M. on Friday until 5:00 P.M. on Sunday every other weekend. These timesharing schedules shall be superseded by the December Holiday, Thanksgiving and Spring Break schedules set forth below and shall be modified during the Summer Vacation Break each year to accommodate any special vacation plans made by either parent.

          1) Notice: If the parents are residing within the same geographic area,
then the secondary residential parent shall give notice (verbal or written) at
least twenty-four (24) hours in advance only if he/she does not intend to
exercise midweek or weekend timesharing rights with the child.

If the parents are not residing within the same geographic area, the secondary
residential parent shall give notice (verbal or written) at least seven (7) days in
advance if he/she does intend to have the child reside with him/her for a scheduled
midweek visit or weekend.

The custodial parent shall provide the noncustodial parent notice at least 24
hours in advance if weekend timesharing is not going to be possible with the child
because of the illness of the child or due to other extraordinary, unforeseen
circumstances.

If timesharing is canceled due to illness of the child or other extraordinary,
unforeseen circumstances, the parent missing the timesharing shall have the right to
compensatory time with the child within 30 days.

          2) “Friday” and “Monday” holidays: Regular weekend timesharing shall
begin at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday if that Friday is a public school or legal holiday and
shall extend until 6:00 P.M. on Monday if that Monday is a public school or legal
holiday.

          3) Homework/readiness of children: The primary residential parent shall
insure that the children have adequate and proper clothing, and the secondary
residential parent shall insure that the furnished clothing is returned. The secondary
residential parent shall insure that the children complete all assigned homework during
midweek and weekend timesharing and shall have the children bathed and ready for
bed if they are being returned to their primary residence after 7:00 P.M.

     B. DECEMBER HOLIDAYS: For approximately one week during the December holiday period each year, beginning at 5:00 P.M. on the day that school recesses for the December holiday period and ending at 12:00 noon on December 26th in odd-numbered years, and beginning at 12:00 noon on December 26th and ending at 6:00 P.M. on the day before school resumes in even-numbered years. The actual length of this timesharing period may vary each year depending upon the child’s school holiday calendar and when Christmas Day actually occurs.

1) Notice [preferably in writing] of intent to exercise December Holiday
timesharing shall be given no later than December 1st each year.

C. THANKSGIVING HOLIDAYS: >From 6:00 P.M. on the day that school recesses for the Thanksgiving holidays until 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday in even-numbered years.

1) Notice [preferably in writing] of intent to exercise Thanksgiving Holiday
timesharing shall be given by November 1st of each appropriate year.

D. SUMMER VACATION BREAK: For the first half of the children’s summer vacation break (including the Fourth of July holiday) in even-numbered years, and the last half of the children’s summer vacation break in odd-numbered years. For purposes of this Agreement, the summer vacation break is defined to begin at 6:00 P.M. on the date that school recesses for the summer and to end seven (7) days before school reconvenes for the following fall term.

1) Notice in writing of intent to exercise summer timesharing shall be given
by May 1st of each year.

2) Reciprocal midweek and weekend timesharing during summer 
     months: 
The primary residential parent shall have the same weekend and midweek
timesharing rights as the secondary residential parent enjoys during the rest of the
year.

3) Planned Vacations: Midweek and weekend timesharing during the
Summer Vacation Break shall be modified whenever either parent has specific
vacation plans for the children or the children have special activities planned, e.g.
camp. The parent missing regularly scheduled timesharing due to vacation plans shall
have the right to make-up the time within 45 days.

4) Transportation: The noncustodial parent shall be responsible for
transporting the children back and forth to the custodial parent’s home at his/her
expense for reciprocal midweek and weekend timesharing.

5) Summer school attendance: Each parent has the obligation to ensure
that the child attends required remedial summer school necessary for promotion to the
next grade. If the secondary residential parent resides outside the child’s geographic
area, he/she shall have the option at his/her expense to enroll the child in an
equivalent summer school session meeting the necessary requirements in the
secondary residential parent’s area so as not to defeat the secondary residential
parent’s ability to share time with the child during the summer.

E. SPRING BREAK: From 6:00 P.M. on the day that school recesses for the Spring Break holiday until 6:00 P.M. on the day before school resumes, in even-numbered years.

1) Notice [preferably in writing] of intent to exercise Spring Break
timesharing shall be given 30 days in advance each applicable year.

OTHER TIMESHARING SCHEDULES:

A. MOTHER’S DAY, FATHER’S DAY, & PARENTS’S BIRTHDAYS: The children shall spend Father’s Day and the father’s birthday with their father, and Mother’s Day and the mother’s birthday with their mother, from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. on the day of the event. These arrangements shall supersede any other regularly-scheduled timesharing periods.

1) Notice: If the parents are residing within the same geographic area, the
noncustodial parent shall give notice (verbal or written) at least twenty-four (24)
hours in advance only if he/she does not intend to exercise this timesharing.

If the parents are not residing within the same geographic area, the
noncustodial parent shall give notice (verbal or written) at least seven (7) days in
advance if he/she does intend to exercise this timesharing.

B. CHILD’S BIRTHDAYS: In even-numbered years, the child shall celebrate with the primary residential parent from 5:00 P.M. the evening before until 4:00 P.M. on the child’s birthday, and the child shall celebrate with the secondary residential parent from 4:00 P.M. on the child’s birthday until 5:00 P.M. the following day. In odd-numbered years, this schedule shall be reversed. This arrangement will supersede any other regularly-scheduled timesharing arrangements.

1) Notice (verbal or written) of intent to exercise this timesharing shall be
given 7 days prior to the child’s birthday.

C. OTHER TIMES: The children shall be entitled to share time with the secondary residential parent at all other times agreed upon by the parents. If the parties are not residing within the same geographic area and the secondary residential parent has an opportunity to be in the locality of the children’s primary physical residence, he/she shall have the right to share time with the children upon one (1) week’s advance notice to the primary residential parent.

ADDITIONAL PARENTING RESPONSIBILITIES:

A. WAITING: Absent telephonic communication of extenuating circumstances, the child and the custodial parent have no duty to await the noncustodial parent for more than thirty (30) minutes of the scheduled timesharing period. A parent who is late for weekend timesharing forfeits timesharing for that weekend. A parent who is late at the beginning of a regularly-scheduled timesharing period other than a weekend forfeits the time until the next day.

B. TRANSPORTATION: The secondary residential parent shall be responsible for all transportation or transportation expenses associated with timesharing, except that the parties shall equally share the responsibility and cost of transportation for the child to travel to and from the secondary residential parent’s residence for December Holiday and summer timesharing each year.

If the parents are unable to agree, the secondary residential parent shall be responsible for transportation at the beginning of the timesharing period, and the primary residential parent shall be responsible for transportation at the end of the timesharing period.

Until age 11, no child shall be required to travel on any public carrier (e.g. bus, train, or airplane) unaccompanied by a responsible adult (including pre-arranged airline personnel) without the other parent’s express consent.

Approved child safety seats or seat belts when allowed by age or weight must be used at all times when transporting the child by vehicle or airplane.

C. BACKUP CARE: Assuming the parents reside in the same geographic area, each parent shall be given the opportunity and shall have the right to have the child with him/her when the child would otherwise be left alone or with a babysitter, daycare provider or facility, or other third party for any period of time exceeding four (4) hours. Both parents are encouraged to offer each other the opportunity to serve as “first choice babysitter” whenever either parent needs childcare for the child.

D. RELIGIOUS, SCHOOL AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: It is in the children’s best interest to participate in religious activities, school programs and regularly-scheduled extracurricular activities appropriate for their ages and talents, such as sports, dance, modeling, and music lessons. When residing within the same geographic area, each parent has the duty to inform the other, and the right to attend, all such activities in which the children are participating. This includes the right to participate in and attend activities with the children at school, including eating lunch with the children.

The children shall have the right to attend Church and/or Sunday School at the Church attended by the custodial parent during the time they are scheduled to be with that parent.

Each parent shall make a good faith effort to deliver the child to scheduled activities on time and in appropriate attire. If not also attending an activity, the parent who delivers a child has the duty to ensure that the child is also picked up. Except for such regularly-scheduled activities, neither parent will make commitments for the child during the time the child is normally scheduled to share time with the other parent without the other parent’s knowledge and consent.

If the parties are not residing in the same geographic area, the noncustodial parent shall have no obligation to see that the child attends any extracurricular activities scheduled by the custodial parent during the regularly-scheduled timesharing periods. [For example, the custodial parent cannot refuse to honor the noncustodial parent's spring or summer vacation time with the child simply because the child has a baseball game or practice during that time.]

E. NOTIFICATION OF RELOCATION: The primary residential parent shall give the secondary residential parent written notice at least ninety (90) days in advance of any plan to permanently relocate with the children outside of the parties’ geographic area.

F. GRANDPARENT AND RELATIVE CONTACT: It is presumptively in the children’s best interest that they maintain a relationship with the maternal and paternal grandparents and other close family. The parents should allow the children reasonable access and telephonic contact with grandparents and close family.

About these ads

42 responses

  1. I am trying to make sure I understand the reciprocal midweek / weekend timesharing during the summer months visitation standard.

    Is this saying that the children will stay with the secondary residential parent during the summer months and the primary residential parent will now have the children every other weekend and midweek only. (except vacation week)

    • It does say that, but my experience is that this portion of the schedule does not typically apply, and the custodial parent maintains custody with the non-custodial parent having visitation.

      • From what I have seen thus far, it truly doesn’t seem like what is best for the children….everything is what is best for the mother (regardless as to what the mother has or has not done) and nothing for the father. The children and the fathers are the ones that suffer. I can say that I now understand why there are so many “dead beat dads”! They get to pay all this child support, medical bills, etc. and they don’t get to see their children that much. This state needs to pass the Father’s Rights Bill. If the ones that write these laws walked in these father’s shoes, then maybe they woiuld understand what it is like not being able to see their children.

  2. If the secondary residential parent works at a company where they rotate between day shift and night shift every two weeks, can the 2 midweek visits missed while working during night shift hours be made up during the midweek the parent is on day shift?

  3. Probably. It would depend on what you could work out with the custodial party, or if you couldn’t, what the judge approved.

    Someone other than a parent can pick up a child, but they need to be approved by the custodial parent first.

      • We were given a different set of visitation rights from an attorney in Birmingham; it was less detailed and it indicates clearly that the first and third week visitation only, once that 5th week has come around, children aren’t sent. Is this an old set of standards??? This one clearly says every other week.

      • Every jurisdiction uses a different set of guidelines. They’re all presumably similar, but each judge or county may use their own schedule.

  4. If a mother has moved everything out of the primary residence, then moved herself and children (still not divoreced and without telling the father) with her parents, can the father move into the primary residence and have the children returned to him.

    • The father can petition the court for any relief he wants, but it doesn’t mean it will be granted. It would depend on the specific facts of each case.

  5. I have had to pay lawyers to make my ex-husband do what the court order tells him to do. When I file rule NISI he comes back with a petition for more visitation.
    My question is if visitation and child support are totally different issues, why is he allowed to use it in negotiation, but I am not?

    • Everything is fair game in negotiation, and if he is in contempt for not following a court order, that’s something your attorney needs to focus on. Child support and visitation are two different things, but everything in a divorce is related to everything else, in a way.

  6. Doesn’t this so-called “Standard Visitation” schedule represent a violation of equal protection of the law? The US Supreme Court has affirmed that a parent’s right “to direct the care, custody, and control” is a fundamental liberty interest safeguarded under the US Constitution. If the parents cannot mutually agree upon a custody arrangement, why is it not a violation of equal protection of the law when the Court’s “Standard Visitation” order is so lopsided in favor of one parent over the other? If both parents have a fundamental liberty interest in the child, should not the Court protect one parent’s right to the child as it does the other by ordering equal visitation and custody as the “standard” arrangement?

    Upon execution of the lopsided “Standard Visitation” schedule, does it not create two classes of people (custodial parents and non-custodial parents)? Is not the non-custodial parent more often than not, the father (making it a gender class)? Does this not create a separate set of rules or pattern of practices and policies which unfairly favors one parent (custodial) over the other (non-custodial)? For example, if a non-custodial parent refuses to allow the custodial parent access to the child, the police can charge the non-custodial parent with a crime and jail the noncustodial parent while facilitating the return of the child to the custodial parent. If a custodial parent refuses to allow the noncustodial parent access to the child, the police will not intervene and the noncustodial parent is forced to attempt access to the child through the civil courts.

    Is “Standard Visitation” so lopsided because the State receives incentive payments from the federal government based on the amount of child support the State is able to enforce against noncustodial parents (42 USC 658a – “Incentive Payments to the State” part of the Social Security Title IV-D program). Since this program provides roughly two dollars for every dollar of child support collected by the State, does this program not provide financial incentive for the State to order such lopsided custody arrangements, thereby increasing the amount of child support it collects, and the incentive payment it receives?

    Therefore, does this not show motive and method for a violation of equal protection of the laws by creating two classes of citizens and treating them differently based upon the financial interests of the State while violating the fundamental liberty interests of one class?

    • I’m skeptical that states have a sinister motive behind implementation of standard visitation and the designation of custodial/non-custodial parents. I accept that’s it’s feasible, I just don’t know if I go so far as to claim that their purpose is purely financial.

      More likely, judges hearing these cases have prioritized stability for children, and “equal” or shared custodial parenting time does not always afford this. Often, parents live cities, even states, apart, and there has to be a designation of a custodial parent and “home state” for school registration, tax purposes, and the like. I don’t agree with every aspect of this system, and many times it DOES favor one parent over the other, but what alternatives exist?

  7. Does my ex_husband get my daughter an additional 30 days to his regularly weeekend visits in the summer,or is that included in his summer visit?

  8. My son was handed a copy of the Shelby County Circuit Court Child Visitation Guidelines. These 17 rules are on 2 sheets of paper, no details whatsoever; obviously it looks nothing like yours. Where did your’s come from and is the one that we should go by?

  9. Could you please answer as well, Brad. While still in the process of getting a divorce the mother decides not to let the father see his children and there are no signed orders from a judge; can the father file any type of order to see his children.

  10. Go by the rules the Judge gave you; mine are a guideline.

    The father can absolutely file for temporary custody and/or visitation while the divorce is pending.

  11. Thank you, Brad. Sorry, I guess I should have included that the guideslines I was describing were given by an attorney, not a judge. That is why I couldn’t understand the differences between your detailed guidelines and the simple 2 liner guideslines received from another attorney. This is all so confusing….

  12. Ok I live in shelby county as well as my daughter and her mother. I just wanted to know if I asked the court to have my daughter,who just turned one, every weekend if they would allow it? The mother uses her as a pawn now, saying stuff when she gets upset like “fine you dont get to see her”. I work ft in steel mill m-f 60 hrs week and value what little time I do get with her….i do pay child support too, prob more then what the court will have me pay. I just want her every weekend.

  13. So how would fall break work? If it is a week long, would it follow the same break as spring break? What if Fall break is only 2 or 3 days?

    • Tara,

      Fall Break is not addressed in all jurisdictions. Until Shelby County adds it to the Standard Visitation list, it would have to be something worked out between the parties and their attorneys.

  14. So how would fall break work? If it is a week long, would it follow the same break as spring break? What if Fall break is only 2 or 3 days?

  15. How can the parenting schedule be omitted? We currently allow our 14 old to choose which days he wants to stay at what home. This has been easier on everyone and he doesnt feel forced. So, how can we omit the parenting schedule when we begin divorce proceedings?
    Please help

    • Bella,

      You and your spouse can include that language in your divorce agreement. You do not have to specify a visitation schedule. Let me know if I can help.

  16. ok, thank you and I will. Oh, I also have 1 more question. What if I don’t want to include child support guidelines in the divorce. We both have our son’s best interest at heart. This is a noncontested divorce and we both want to keep things respectful of the other.

    • You’re probably going to have to include a provision for child support in the agreement. Most judges won’t let you waive it except in limited circumstances.

  17. My ex is getting remarried and has asked for my consent to relocate 10 hours away. I’ve tried researching how travel costs will affect my child support, but have only found a few vague references like the court “takes it into consideration”. Currently I cannot afford ANY travel expenses, especially the kind that will require either flight or hotel accomodations. In addition the upcoming furlough will be knocking me down 20% on my income not to mention my beater car won’t make it 10 hours North.

    How does AL normally handle a relocation such as this? Currently we are in the beginning phase of our negotiation about the whole thing (no lawyers involved yet). Talking about one weekend a month, Summer and most holidays. 2 kids. Average round trip plane ticket is $230.

    • Without getting into too many details, you need to formally object to the relocation through the court, and get a hearing where you can explain the situation to a judge. My office can help with this if you want to schedule a free consultation. (205) 988-5570.

  18. I have a question about overnight guest in the presence of my children at their Mothers home.
    I am divorced and my children are in the custody of their Mother and she has a man living there that she is not married to (and yes they are sleeping in the same bed). According to our Divorce this is not allowed. Do I have the right to take her to court for Contempt and will the judge in Shelby County up hold this and make him move out until they marry?

    • I tried to send you an email but it kicked it back. Many factors go into custody determinations, so please contact my office to schedule a more in-depth consultation. (205) 988-5570.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: