A child access agreement, or a "visitation agreement," sets forth the times and conditions under which a non-custodial parent has visitation with a minor child. The legal effect of such an agreement varies from state to state.
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The child access agreement should contain an identification of the parties and children, the birth dates of the children and the time they will be spending with the non-custodial parent. The parties should also list any conditions either or both will observe, such as restrictions on alcohol use while having placement.
As a child access agreement is a contract, the agreement should be as specific as possible. It should contain a statement that the document is the entire agreement of the parties. Both parties should sign in the presence of a notary public.
Courts generally cannot modify a contract, but some states reserve the right to modify child access agreements on the grounds that courts can always act in the best interests of children. A child access agreement is still powerful evidence of an arrangement in effect at a given time and operates as a de facto recognition by the parties that a given arrangement was in the best interests of the child.
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