When turned over to family courts, child custody decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The best interests of the child are the main considerations when determining which parent will receive custody. Fathers who are not granted custody may still receive visitation and this could include having children stay overnight. This leads fathers to wonder how much overnight visitation they should expect to receive.
A judge considers a variety of factors when hearing a child custody case. If custody is awarded to the mother, the father is entitled to a reasonable amount of visitation. Parents should try to work out the visitation schedule but if they cannot, the court will determine it. A father’s visitation rights should be taken seriously because interfering with these can cause a mother to lose custody of her children.
Mothers who are granted custody are not permitted to withhold visitation with the non-custodial fathers of their children. However, these male parents must also hold up their end of the arrangement by being reliable. Failing to adhere to the visitation schedule can result in loss of visitation rights. Once it is lost, a father’s visitation in divorce can be difficult to regain.
It is important to note that previous or even current incarceration will not automatically restrict visitation. However, fathers with a history of violence or substance abuse may be subject to supervised visitation. A court will require a social worker or other third party to be present when these fathers visit with their children. If the undesirable behavior resurfaces, visitation may be suspended until the male parent is rehabilitated.
There is no universal amount of visitation, overnight or otherwise, that a non-custodial father will receive in a custody case. Health and stability of the parents, lifestyle choices, personal relationships, and other factors influence the decision. Courts also assess the child’s school and community situations and the residential environment that the father will provide. Every outcome is unique and based on the personal dynamics of the family unit.
Custody laws are complicated and most parents do not understand relevant guidelines or legal terminology. Family law attorneys dedicate their careers to understanding these and fighting for the rights of their clients. This type of lawyer can clearly explain a father’s rights in divorce and help a male parent exercise these rights within the confines of the law. After investigating the personal circumstances surrounding the case, a family law attorney will help a father fight for visitation time with his children.