Parenting time can be set by the Court. Even if one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent (also called the “noncustodial parent”) can be awarded parenting time. The Court can also establish a parenting time schedule when parents share custody. Parenting time must be in the child’s “best interest.” To set parenting time, the court looks at things like the child’s age, the child’s safety, and the child’s past relationship with the noncustodial parent. There are 12 “best interest” factors the Court must consider. See our fact sheet Paternity and Child Custody for the list.
In general, a noncustodial parent gets a minimum of 25% of the parenting time. This is calculated by counting the number of overnights in a 2-week period. For example, 25% equals about every other weekend and one day a week. If one parent does not spend overnights with the child, the court may look at other long time periods that the child spends with that parent.
Sometimes, the court gives “reasonable parenting time” without getting specific. In this case the parents have to figure out a schedule on their own. But, if either parent asks, the court sets specific dates and times for parenting time.
The court may give more parenting time to one parent to care for the child while the other parent works. If you ask for this, the court looks at how well the parents cooperate, how well the parents work together on visiting issues and if there has been family violence.