In Rhode Island it is common practice for the RI Family Court and others to use the word “visitation” or “visits” when determining the parenting time for the parent who the child does not reside with. This term is used in Rhode Island Divorce, Child Custody,Paternity, Family Law and Visitation cases
However, “visitation” has very negative and pejorative connotations!
Using the terms “visits” and custody also creates an adversarial environment where there is a winner and loser rather than parents attempting to find a solution that is in the best interest of their children!
Why should a parent be a visitor in their child’s life?
I prefer that the term “parenting time” is used rather then visits or visitation. If both parents enjoy parenting time with the child then neither parent is a loser or a visitor in their child’s life.
Under Current Rhode Island Family Law, one parent has physical placement or physical custody of the child and the other parent has visitation rights. Inmates are in custody! Children reside or live with one parent or the other! I think it would be much more appropriate for Courts and litigants to decide that one parent has residential placement of a child and both parents have parenting time with the child.
Children should be in the”residential placement” with one parent, inmates are the ones in “custody”
I also object to the following terms that are often bandied around in Providence Family Court: “physical custody”, “physical possession” or “custody”. These terms imply that a child is a possession that can be traded or bartered. Courts should award one parent (father or mother) residential placement of the child and then should determine parenting time of both parents!
In the event that the parties have an equal custody arrangement commonly referred to as “shared physical placement” or “shared physical custody” then the proper term should be dual residential placement. A child is not a object to be shared!
Child Custody, Child Support & Visitation http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/child-custody
Custody & Parenting Time (Visitation) http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-custody.htm
Rhode Island Family Court http://www.courts.ri.gov/courts/familycourt/default.aspx