Visitation model

Family law

When there is a divorce or separation between extramarital partners, it is necessary to regulate the issue of which parent will exercise parental rights over minor children, what will be the model of maintaining contacts with the child and which amount of alimony will be sufficient.

What is a visitation model?

starateljstvo nad detetomThe child visitation model is a court decision on the way the child will see the father or mother with whom he/she does not live. That model can be defined in two ways – vaguely or concretely. Indeterminate means that the time and place of picking up and returning the child will not be specified in the visitation model, while the specific model predicts a precisely determined visitation dynamic.

An indefinite or “by appointment” model of visitation is possible when the child’s parents are on good terms, when they have defined their partnership and are able to plan together (often on a weekly or even daily basis), as well as coordinate their ongoing plans.

On the other hand, there is a way of determining the visitation model according to which it is precisely determined who and when the child is handed over and picked up, how long the visitation lasts, where the visitation will take place, and the like. This way of defining the visitation model is more common and recommended in practice because it contributes to reducing the possibility of disagreements in the future.

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    Does the model of seeing have to be determined?

    The visitation model is only mandatory when one of the parents exercises parental rights independently.
    In cases of joint custody, the model of visitation is generally not determined because joint custody imply an agreement between the parents regarding all issues concerning the child, and therefore also about how much and when the child will be with one parent and how much with the other parent.

    However, sometimes there is a need to determine the visitation model in these cases as well. The reasons for this are mainly the fear of one of the parents that the other parent will restrict him over time regarding visitation. By defining an adequate model of visitation in these cases, the parent wants to provide himself or herself and the child with a minimum of visitation “on paper” for the eventual possibility of initiating enforcement proceedings in the event of any restriction by the other parent, as well as when there is a practical need to determine the model of visitation (e.g. a large parental distance, specific shift work, work abroad etc).

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    How is the child's vision model determined?

    The model of visitation between the child and the parent with whom the child does not live should be in the best interests of the child. This means that for a child, an adequate vision model should provide 4 key things:

    1. Child safety and development
    2. Sufficient time with the parent
    3. Practicality
    4. Certainty for the child regarding the visitation schedule

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    What does the court consider when deciding?

    When deciding about which model of visitation to determine, the court takes an extremely wide range of facts to make a decision that will be in the best interest of the child and that will be able to function in practice, bearing in mind the mutual relationship of the parents and the relationship of the parents to the child. Some of these circumstances are as follows:

    1. Age of the child
    2. Health condition of the child and parents
    3. The child’s development so far
    4. Current care of the child
    5. The physical distance of the parents’ place of residence, as well as the distance to the place of work, kindergarten, school, etc
    6. Housing conditions of parents
    7. Possibility of cooperation of parents
    8. Business and other obligations of parents
    9. Lifestyle of parents
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    What is the most common model of seeing?

    The term “classical model of visitation” is a construction of practice. This is the model that best meets the needs of the average child between the ages of 5 and 15. This model implies the following dynamics of spending time with the parent with whom the child does not live:

    • Every other weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening
    • One working day lasting 2-3 hours in the week when the child will not be with the parent with whom he does not live during the upcoming weekend
    • Half of the summer and winter holidays – continuously or divided into two or three parts (when the child is not yet in school, the term “holiday” refers to the period of official school holidays)
    • One child’s birthday in every two years
    • Every birthday of a parent with whom he does not live
    • National and religious holiday, which includes holidays that are designated by law as non-working days (eg if a child spent Christmas with his mother one year, he would spend Christmas with his father the following year).
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    What models besides the ``classic`` exist?

    It is important to point out that there are no models of visitation that are defined as “ready-made products” in the Family Law or any other regulation. The model of visitation is determined by the court based on the conducted evidentiary procedure, considering all the circumstances and evidence that indicate what would be the best interest of the child in the specific case.

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    When will the court not allow a child to sleepover at the “other” parent’s place?

    The answer to this question depends (as discussed so far) on a long series of life factors.
    Just some of the possible reasons for denying such a model of seeing can be:

    1. The child is of low calendar age and is dependent on the other parent
    2. Due to various life circumstances, the child has not established a personal relationship with the “other” parent, and the process of establishing or re-establishing personal relationships is ongoing
    3. The parent does not know the child’s basic needs regarding diet or personal hygiene
    4. The parent does not have a living space so that the child can sleepover with him/her
    5. There are previous court decisions that the parent neglected the child’s needs or committed other forms of domestic violence
    6. The parent has health problems that may affect the psychophysical peace or development of the child in case of spending a long time with the child
    7. The parent consumes alcohol or drugs


Determining the pattern of visitation is one of the most delicate issues in family proceedings. When defining the viewing model, it is necessary to be guided by the interests of the child, and not by the mere wishes of the parents, because the wishes of the parents may conflict with the interests of the child. It is difficult for parents to accept that by determining the model of visitation, they are not fighting against the other parent, but trying to provide the child with an adequate dynamic of visitation, which should ensure the child’s unhindered psychophysical development, peace, tranquility, as well as strengthen the relationship with the parent with whom the child does not live and thus influence the child to feel as little as possible the consequences of the divorce or separation of his parents and so that the child during his upbringing has the feeling that he really has two parents.

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