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.
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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