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Question
Posted by: john | 2010/04/08

what does it mean

Hi, from the divorce decree, what does " reasenable access"  mean to the father of the child in terms of visitation and rights to a minor of 2yrs 9 months

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

What is reasonable depends on the particular circumstances of the family, the ages and needs of the children – a lot of factors. Often the court will simply stipulate that the parent who is not awarded custody should have 'reasonable access' to the children, leaving the timing and arrangements to the estranged couple.

If there is likely to be a dispute, a parent should attempt to have his or her rights set out clearly. This can be done by setting out specific arrangements in a consent paper, which will become an order of court when the divorce is granted. If there is no specific agreement, the parent who has custody of the children has the right to determine what access the other may have. However, he or she may not lay down unreasonable rules. The amount of access will depend on the circumstances of each case.

It is better to spell out the visitation rights in the agreement.

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za

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Our users say:
Posted by: G-Dad | 2010/04/19

Maarten, in our mind that is what reasonable access mean, if it is not spell out then it could mean something different to the custodian parent, the custodian parent could dispute that the father is a danger and could classify reasonable access as supervised access, and no most access fetching and returning is specified to fetch and return to the custodian parents residence or as agreed, Wednesday is not a norm as well, but could be agreed on.

Each case is based on merit, this mean that your girlfriend''s could be totally different from this scenario.

It is best to spell out in words you access then there can be no dispute later on, if there is a dispute then it could be contempt of court or the court has to change the order.
If not spell out the mother can play the fiddle as she pleases and laying a charge of contempt could result in a failure, but the could could change the wording and spell out the access later on.

Reply to G-Dad
Posted by: Maarten | 2010/04/17

Reasonable access is generally defined as:- every second weekend from Fri afternoon until Monday morning. (Fetch from school, return to school) A midweek sleepover on wednesday, again fetch from school, return to school. In my girlfriends case, the midweek visit following a weekend with his father, her son has wed and thurs with his dad.

Reply to Maarten
Posted by: family law expert | 2010/04/09

What is reasonable depends on the particular circumstances of the family, the ages and needs of the children – a lot of factors. Often the court will simply stipulate that the parent who is not awarded custody should have 'reasonable access' to the children, leaving the timing and arrangements to the estranged couple.

If there is likely to be a dispute, a parent should attempt to have his or her rights set out clearly. This can be done by setting out specific arrangements in a consent paper, which will become an order of court when the divorce is granted. If there is no specific agreement, the parent who has custody of the children has the right to determine what access the other may have. However, he or she may not lay down unreasonable rules. The amount of access will depend on the circumstances of each case.

It is better to spell out the visitation rights in the agreement.

Bertus Preller
www.divorceattorney.co.za

Reply to family law expert

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