What Are Visitation Rights?
The law has continually affirmed that a child’s well-being is best preserved when both parents are involved in his or her life. Even in cases of divorce, state law has created measures that ensure a child has regular contact with both parents. This contact is called visitation.
Visitation is a sensitive subject in a divorce proceeding. It is usually the result of one parent having sole physical custody of the child, meaning that the other parent must obey a schedule in order to see their child. To that end, visitation often takes two different forms: “reasonable visitation” and “fixed visitation.”
“Reasonable visitation” is when the court allows parents to work out a schedule of visitation between themselves. Courts prefer this method because it allows for parents to be flexible with each other according to their own daily lives. This method requires an amicable relationship between them, as it takes cooperation for reasonable visitation to work. It also takes trust on the part of the noncustodial parent, as the custodial parent has far more power over visitation than the noncustodial parent. However, if a noncustodial parent is being purposefully unfair or malicious with visitation, it can be reported.
“Fixed visitation” is the result of parents who cannot come to an agreement. In this case, the court will determine a schedule that both parents must abide by. This is firm, fixed, and enforceable by the court. In cases of past abuse, the visiting parent can only have “supervised visitation,” where an additional adult is present for the entire visit. This person can be court-appointed or chosen jointly by the parents.
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Why You Want a Family Law Attorney
Visitation is a powerful legal agreement, as it can mean the difference between being an absent parent or an involved one. Visitation should be decided according to the best interests of the child, but this may not be the case between parents who do not cooperate. The Harris Law Firm can ensure that your visitation agreement will allow your children to have access to both parents, insofar as it is safe and in their interests. Our firm of experienced family law attorneys will fight for the rights of you and your loved ones, creating mutually-beneficial agreements that will help your family for years.