PIMA COUNTY ACCESS GUIDELINES
(
Visitation)

INTRODUCTION

  1. These guidelines are for all cases in which custody or visitation of minor children is an issue.
  2. The categories identified in the guidelines are based upon developmental stages of children. The chronological ages are provided for reference.
  3. These guides are not meant to provide minimum or maximum access, but to set forth a standard which can be adjusted depending upon the unique needs and circumstances of each family.
  4. Decisions will have to be made for families with more than one child as to whether a single plan or different plans would best meet the needs of all the children.
  5. These guidelines were developed from a current review of the relevant literature concerning access, from the visitation/access guidelines of other communities and from the input of child experts as well as legal professionals in the community.
  6. These guidelines assume the following:
  1. One parent has sole custody or primary physical custody.
  2. The guidelines identify time for the non-custodial parent and the child. The exception to this is in the Vacation time in which time is identified for both parents.
  3. Both parents are fit and proper.
  4. Both parents are willing and able to parent the child(ren).

PARENT/CHILD ACCESS

  1. Early Infancy (Birth to Age 9 Months)
  1. Residential Plan
  1. Birth to Age 4 Months:
  2. -Three times per week: Two hours in length.

    -Preferably in the custodial home or the established childcare setting.

    -Overnight: not recommended.

  3. Age 4 Months to Age 9 Months

-Three times per week: Three hours I length.

-Visits away from the custodial home or established childcare setting maybe initiated.

-The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

Overnights not recommended.

  1. Vacation Time (Defined as a period of uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. This may occur during anytime of the year with at least thirty days advance notice to the non-vacationing parent.)
  2. -Vacation time not recommended for the non-custodial parent.

    -Any vacation time taken by the custodial parent should not exceed seven consecutive days away from the non-custodial parent.

  3. Holiday Time Holiday time take precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan.
    1. Birth to Age 4 Months:
    2. -Two hours on the holiday,

      -Preferably in the custodial home or the established childcare setting.

    3. Age 4 Months to Age 9 Months:

-Three hours on the holiday,

-May be away from the custodial home or established childcare setting.

-The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

  1. Phone Access.

-Not recommended.

  1. Later Infancy (Age 9 Months to Age 18 Months)
  1. Residential Plan
    1. Age 9 Months to Age 12 Months:
    2. -Two times per week: One visit - Eight hours; Other visit - Three hours.

      -The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

      -Overnights not recommended.

    3. Age 12 Months to Age 18 Months:

-Two eight-hour periods (Saturday and Sunday) during the daytime.

AND

-One midweek visit each week: Three hours in length.

-The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

-Overnight not recommended.

  1. Vacation Time (Defined as a period of uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. This may occur during anytime of the year with at least thirty days advance notice to the non-vacationing parent.)
  2. -Vacation time not recommended for the non-custodial parent.

    -Any vacation time taken by the custodial parent should not exceed fourteen consecutive days away from the non-custodial parent.

    -Periodic physical contact with the non-vacationing parent, if the child is in the vicinity.

  3. Holiday Time Holiday time take precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan, including the child's birthday.
  4. -Shared or alternated with the custodial parent.

    -Eight hours with the non-custodial parent.

    The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

  5. Phone Access

-Brief contact two times per week

-Should not interfere with time the child is sleeping.

  1. Toddler (Age 18 Months to 3 Years)
  1. Residential Plan
  2. -Alternate weekends; Saturday morning to Sunday evening

    AND

    -One midweek visit each week: Three hours in length.

    -The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

  3. Vacation Time. (Defined as a period of essentially uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. This may occur during anytime of the year with at least thirty days advance notice to the non-vacationing parent.)
    1. Age 18 Months to Age 24 Months:
    2. -Two one-week periods separated by at least four weeks.

      -One phone contact to the non-vacationing parent each week initiated by the vacationing parent.

      -Periodic physical contact with the non-vacationing parent, if the child is in the vicinity.

    3. Age 24 Months to Age 36 Months:

-Two weeks

-One phone contact to the non-vacationing parent each week initiated by the vacationing parent.

-Periodic physical contact with the non-vacationing parent, if the child is in the vicinity.

  1. Holiday Time Holiday times take precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan, including the child's birthday.
  2. -Equally shared or alternated with the custodial parent.

    -May include overnights.

  3. Phone Access

-Contact two times per week

-Should not interfere with time the child is sleeping.

4. Preschool (Age 3 years to age 5 years).

  1. Residential Plan
  2. -Alternate weekends: Friday evening to Sunday Evening

    AND

    -One midweek visit each week: Four hours in length.

    -The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

  3. Vacation Time (Defined as a period of essentially uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. This may occur during any time of the year with at least thirty days advance notice to the non-vacationing parent.)
  4. -Two two-week periods separated by at least three weeks.

    -One phone contact each week to the non-vacationing parent initiated by the vacationing parent.

    -Periodic physical contact with the non-vacationing parent, if the child is in the vicinity.

  5. Holiday Time Holiday time take precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan, including the child's birthday.
  6. -Equally shared or alternated with the custodial parent.

    -May include overnights.

  7. Phone Access

-Contact two times per week

-Should not interfere with time the child is sleeping.

  1. Elementary School (Age 5 years to Age 11 Years)
  1. Residential Plan
  2. -Alternate weekends: Friday after school to Sunday evening.

    -The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

    AND

    -During School Year:

    -On alternate weeks One overnight, from after school to return to school the next morning.

    -During Summer School Break:

    -On alternate weeks: One twenty-four hour period, including the overnight.

  3. Vacation Time (Defined as a period of essentially uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. Vacation time should not interfere with school attendance unless approved y the custodial parent. Thirty days advance notice should be provided to the non-vacationing parent.)
    1. Age 5 Years to Age 9 Years:
    2. -Four weeks, either consecutively or split into tow or more segments.

      -One phone contact each week to the non-vacationing parent initiated by the vacationing parent.

      -Periodic physical contact with the non-vacationing parent, if the child is in the vicinity.

    3. Age 9 Years to Age 11 Years:

-Six weeks, either consecutively or split into segments.

-Phone contact to the non-vacationing parent initiated by the vacationing parent or child.

  1. Holiday Time Holiday times take precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan, including the child's birthday.
  2. -Equally shared or alternated with the custodial parent.

    -Spring and Christmas breaks from school divided equally or alternated between the parents.

  3. Phone Access

-Three times per week initiated by the child or non-custodial parent.

-Should not interfere with time the child is sleeping.

6. Junior High or Middle School (Age 11 Years to Age 14 Years.)

  1. Residential Plan.
  2. -Alternate weekends: Friday after school to Sunday evening.

    -The child to be returned at least one hour before evening bedtime.

    -Midweek visit is optional.

  3. Vacation Time (Defined as a period of essentially uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. Vacation time should not interfere with school attendance unless approved by the custodial parent. Thirty days advance notice should be provided to the non-vacationing parent.)
  4. -Six weeks, either consecutively or split into segments.

    -The child's summer activities will need to be considered in scheduling this time.

    -Phone contact to the non-vacationing parent initiated by the child.

  5. Holiday Time Holiday time takes precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan, including the child's birthday.
  6. -Equally shared or alternated with the custodial parent.

    -Spring and Christmas breaks from school divided equally or alternated between the parents.

  7. Phone Access

-Open access as determined by the child and the non-custodial parent.

  1. High School (Age 14 Years to Age 18 Years)
  1. Residential Plan
    1. Age 14 years to Age 15 Years:

-Two weekends per month: Friday evening to Sunday evening (or an equivalent amount of time per month).

-The child's activities and wishes will need to be considered in scheduling this time.

(2). Age 16 Years to Age 18 Year

-One weekend per month: Friday evening to Sunday evening (or an equivalent amount of time per month).

-The child's wishes, activities and employment should be taken into consideration when scheduling this time.

  1. Vacation Time (Defined as a period of essentially uninterrupted time in which the residential plan is suspended. This time applies to both parents, custodial and non-custodial, on an annual basis. Vacation time should not interfere with school attendance unless approved by the custodial parent. Thirty days advance notice should be provided to the non-vacationing parent.)
    1. Age 14 Years to Age 16 Years:
    2. -Four weeks or as agreed upon by the child and both parents.

      -The child's wishes and summer activities will need to be considered in scheduling this time.

    3. Age 16 Years to Age 18 Years:

-Two weeks or as agreed upon by the child and both parents.

-The child's wishes, employment and summer activities will need to be considered in scheduling this time.

  1. Holiday Time Holiday times take precedence over vacation time as well as the regular residential plan. Holidays to be specified by the parents in their plan, including the child's birthday.
  2. -Equally shared or alternated with the custodial parent.

    -Spring and Christmas breaks from school divided equally or alternated between the parents.

  3. Phone Access

-Open access as determined by the child and non-custodial parent.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

  1. Domestic Violence:
  2. The Access Guidelines may need to be adjusted when there has been domestic violence. Please refer to ARS 24-332 (B) or the most recent revision of the law or consult with an attorney regarding this special circumstance.

  3. Re-establishment of Parent-Child Relationship After a Long Absence:
  4. When visitation has not taken place for an extended period of time, both parents should consider the possible adverse affects upon the child and gradually re-introduce an appropriate access plan for the non-custodial parent.

  5. Travel With the Child (Emergency Notification)
  6. For emergency purposes, whenever the child travels with either parent, one of the following will be provided to the other parent. An itinerary of travel dates, destinations, and places where the child or traveling parent can be reached or the name and telephone number of an available person who would be knowledgeable of the child's whereabouts.

  7. Out of Town Access
  8. Plans regarding out of town access are more difficult to suggest because of the effect of such factors as distance, parent's employment schedule, parent's financial ability to pay for more or less frequent trips and the availability of child care while children are visiting from out of town. These and many other factors necessitate specific arrangements be made. In general, visits would be less often and of longer duration.

    Travel of Child Alone:

    Travel alone of a child under the age of five years is not recommended.

  9. Access to Address and Phone Number

Both parents should provide each other with their current address and phone number unless doing so would endanger either the child or a parent. If an address or phone number cannot be provided, then the name and number of an available third party who can reach the child or inaccessible parent in the event of an emergency should be provided.




Back to Articles INDEX