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Regular Versus Special Visitation

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J. Gregory Hatcher | Child Custody Attorney


Unfortunately, many disputes between parents and children arise over a misunderstanding of visitation terms. To avoid conflict and confusion, it is always recommended that parents enter into a Consent Order with the court whereby they set out specifically the contact and visitation they shall each have with their children. Disputes of this nature and the resulting confusion often lead to further acrimony between the parties and increased time in court and attorney’s fees.

One way to minimize disputes is to clarify the difference between regular visitation and special or holiday visitation. Regular visitation is typically considered that visitation which occurs throughout a regular school year. For instance, regular visitation can consist of an alternating weekend, overnight visit or a dinner visit every Tuesday.

Special or holiday visitation typically includes visits surrounding holidays and vacations from school. For example, standard holidays usually include Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year’s Day, spring break and summer vacation.

Parties can be as detailed in their selection of holidays and special visitations as they like. If the parties traditionally celebrate Arbor Day, then they can agree that this holiday is rotated so they equally share time with the children.

Finally, after designating regular and special visitation, it is always advised to specifically explain how these different types of visitations work together. Ordinarily, regular visitation is superseded by special visitation. As such, even if one parent is scheduled to have the children under regular visitation for a weekend, that visitation is superseded if that particular weekend is the Thanksgiving holiday and is to be exercised exclusively by the other parent. The more specific the terms and coordination of visitation, the better. 

Greg Hatcher is a highly experienced child custody lawyer in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding area. He is the managing partner at Hatcher Law Group and was recently named among the 2015 “Legal Elite” in Family Law by Business North Carolina magazine.

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