Visitation schedules for minor children in an international case

When a couple makes the decision to divorce with minor children involved and one of the parents decides to move to another country, a visitation schedule is established in accordance with a series of special guidelines that we would like to discuss as lawyers specializing in family law.

The first thing we must make clear may be somewhat obvious, but it is worth emphasizing: when the parents reside in different countries, the same visitation schedule can’t be established in favor of the non-custodial parent. That is, joint custody is not possible because the requirement that the parents live near each other is not met.

In this regard, when there isn’t agreement between the parents, it is the judge who must establish when, how and where the right to visitation will be exercised. This is a right and also an obligation, because parents have an obligation to spend time with their children. This right/obligation is established by determining details such as the frequency of the visits and their duration, as well as determining who will be responsible for travel expenses. All of this is done by considering factors such as: the child’s age; the distance; travel conditions and inconveniences; the parents’ personal, family and professional circumstances; their time and personal availability to travel; and their financial resources.

It may be the case that the visits will be extended to compensate for the difficulty involved in the distance, which is quite common. This means that visits will be combined given the distance between the parents, especially considering the fact that there won’t be standard visits on alternate weekends, weekdays or for half of school vacations.

The child’s best interests always come first

Based on case law and ICN LEGAL’s professional experience, we can say that any visitation schedule that hinders a child’s relationship with their non-custodial parent will not be in their best interests. To ensure that finances aren’t an issue, Supreme Court doctrine establishes that the financial and personal burdens related to travel from one country to another must be distributed fairly.

If you have any questions in this regard, don’t hesitate to request a consultation with our lawyers, who are former judges with expertise in international family law.

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