How Do Visitation Rights Work?

If you’re a parent going through a divorce, your main concern is your child and their future. Explaining divorce to your child is difficult enough, but now you must worry about your child’s development being impacted by the divorce. If you’re the non-custodial parent to your child, you don’t have to worry about not being able to positively influence your child. You are still entitled to visitation rights. In fact, courts prefer that both parents actively participate in their child’s life. Before you can begin visiting your child, you will have to draft a shared child visitation agreement with your former spouse. 

What is a Child Visitation Agreement? 

The goal of a child visitation agreement is to create a shared schedule between you and your child’s custodial parent. This will be difficult to hear, but the child visitation agreement does not revolve around you. Nor does the agreement entirely revolve around the custodial parent. The agreement prioritizes the best interests of your child, which factor in your child’s age, their well-being, each parent’s work history and current employment, the residence of each parent, and each parent’s daily schedules. If your child is considered old enough by the court, then the child will be able to select which days they’d like to spend time with you. Each parent’s visitation rights, duties, and responsibilities to their child will be outlined in the agreement. In the event that both parents cannot reach a mutual agreement, then the court will intervene. The parent with sole custody of the child is usually given the privilege of creating the visitation schedule, but it must be submitted to the court and approved by a judge. Once the judge approves the schedule, the agreement becomes a court order. Creating a child visitation agreement works best when both parents can peacefully come to an agreement because then it is a painless process for everyone involved. 

What is a Violation of a Child Visitation Agreement?

The two types of visitation are unsupervised visitations and supervised visitations. Unsupervised visitation is when the non-custodial parent can spend their scheduled time with their child without third-party supervision. In contrast, supervised visitations are reserved for parents who have a severe mental illness, a history of violence, substance abuse issues, or a track-record of neglect. For supervised visitations, a judge will specify the time and duration of the non-custodial parent’s visit. A judge will also designate the neutral third-party supervisor who will be monitoring the supervised visit. If either parent violates the visitation agreement, serious consequences will be taken against them. Parents who violate the visitation agreement will eventually lose their visitation rights and may even be subjected to criminal charges. Schedule violations occur when the non-custodial parent keeps their child for a longer amount of time than permitted, or when the custodial parent denies the other parent their right to visit the child. Contact an attorney immediately if there are visitation violations. 

Child custody battles are heart-wrenching, but it’s important to not entirely center yourself. Your child’s happiness and well-being need to be front and center. If you’re in need of a child visitation rights attorney, contact The Ault Firm today. 

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