When one parent is provided full custody of a child during a divorce, the other parent usually receives visitation rights. Some couples may come to a mutually-agreeable decision regarding visitation but others engage in an all-out war, forcing a judge to make the decision. Parents who find themselves for visitation should be aware of the different types of visitation that are available.
In cases where parents receive joint custody, the adults must work out a visitation schedule so the children can spend time with each of their parents separately. Reasonable visitation may be awarded in cases of joint or sole custody. Parents decide the reasonable periods and places for children to visit each of them. This schedule may vary daily or weekly.
When parents agree on a schedule of visitation that remains consistent from week to week, the arrangement is referred to as fixed visitation. If the court determines visitation, it creates a fixed visitation schedule. Visitation may be unsupervised and the child may be permitted to stay overnight with the non-custodial parent or it may be supervised by a third party such as a guardian ad litem, counselor, therapist, or police officer.
Parents who cannot agree on visitation must provide testimony in court before a judge. If the children are of a particular age, they may be asked to provide testimony. The judge will then review the case, taking the parenting abilities, background, and past childrearing roles of both parents into account. Once the judge issues a visitation agreement, both parents are legally bound to adhere to it.
Representation from a child visitation lawyer usually increases the chance of a positive outcome for a parent fighting for visitation. By presenting a strong case to the court, the attorney illustrates that the client will be a good caregiver and is worthy of the desired amount of visitation. This type of lawyer also comes in handy when one or both parents desires a change in visitation. Legal issues, a change in the relationship, or completion of rehabilitative therapy may warrant a change in visitation and the petitioning parent must show a reason for the change.
When visitation discussions turn into arguments, it is time to turn things over to a professional. An attorney and a judge will decide the proper type and amount of visitation that each parent receives. The arrangement can be revised in the future if circumstances change and one or both parents can prove that changes are necessary.