Child visitation is an important aspect of child custody decisions because it determines how much time non-custodial parents may spend with their children. Details are outlined in a visitation agreement that both parents must adhere to or face legal consequences. Agreeing upon a visitation schedule is sometimes difficult and the services of a specialized attorney may come in handy.
A child visitation lawyer deals with these issues on a regular basis. In some situations, this type of attorney may help parents agree on visitation without stepping foot in court. The most difficult cases require a judge to decide on visitation but legal representation ensures that visitation rights are fully exercised and often leads to a favorable outcome for both parties.
Resolving visitation disputes outside of court is the easiest approach. An attorney can help divorcing parents negotiate visitation through an informal settlement or through an alternative dispute resolution process such as collaborative law or mediation proceedings. Most states require court approval to finalize the agreement but this is usually only a formality.
When these methods do not prove successful, the case goes to a family court. A judge decides on both custody and visitation based on the best interests of the children. If a child is old enough, the judge may ask which parent the child would prefer to live with during the minor years. The judge may also ask questions that affect the decision regarding visitation with the non-custodial parent. Courts consider several other factors and lawyers help their clients prepare answers that reflect excellent parenting abilities.
Parents may not be the only parties wishing to exercise visitation rights. Lawyers also represent grandparents who wish to visit with their grandchildren but are prevented from doing so by one or both parents of the youngsters. Each U.S. state and the District of Columbia have some type of law regarding the right of grandparents to visit with grandchildren and specialized lawyers help to enforce this.
When a visitation agreement proves difficult to reach, assistance from an attorney can streamline the process. The mere act of involving a knowledgeable and objective third party can take the negotiation to a higher level. Lawyers help their clients exercise rights to child visitation and keep parents focused on what is best for the children. Whether discussions take place in or outside of court, the climate may quickly shift from one of disagreement to mutual understanding.