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Parenting Time and Visitation

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created August 2015

The Parenting Time and Visitation section is about the time your children spend with the parent they do not live with. We also have an article about grandparents’ rights to spend time with their grandchildren.

The Probate and Family Court always used to call the time children spend with a parent they do not live with "visitation." In July 2015, the Court changed the words they use on their forms to "parenting time." The Court says that “parenting time” is the time that children spend with the parent they do not live with. The Court still uses the word “visitation” for supervised visitation and grandparent visitation.

Usually the Court will make a "parenting time" order when the children live most of the time with one of the parents.

If you and the other parent cannot agree about parenting time or visitation, you can go to court. The judge will decide. This section has information about how judges make these decisions.


Domestic Violence
The Court has not changed the word “visitation” in 209A restraining order cases. Probate & Family Courts can make visitation orders in these cases, but only if the plaintiff asks for one.

The Court has not changed the words "supervised visitation." The courts still call supervised visitation "visitation." Where there is domestic violence, the courts can order that an abusive parent should have supervised visitation.


Sometimes grandparents get visitation rights. The courts still call grandparent visitation "visitation."

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