What are visitation rights?

Visitation rights are a concern most divorcing parents share and want to understand. Parents may have a variety of questions concerning how child custody and visitation will be determined. If the family law court has awarded reasonable visitation to the parents, it is hoped that the parents will work out a child custody and visitation plan that is in the best interests of the child and works best for their family.

It is both useful and encouraged for parents to work together when resolving divorce-related concerns, such as a visitation agreement and child custody arrangements. When parents are unable to work together, the family law court can determine a visitation schedule that allows the non-custodial parent, which refers to the parent the child does not live with, visitation. Circumstances such as a history of abuse can impact a visitation schedule and child custody order, so it is important to present it to the court if those circumstances exist.

Additional concerns, such as grandparents' rights, which vary by state, may come up, so it is helpful to be familiar with the entire landscape of child custody concerns. In general, parents may receive shared custody, or joint custody, or sole custody. However, shared custody is favored when possible. Both physical custody, which refers to who the child lives with, and legal custody, which refers to who will make important decisions for the child and may include both parents, will need to be determined. Both physical and legal custody can be shared.

The family law process provides resources for families to help them design a visitation and child custody plan that is in the best interests of the child and fits the needs of their family and particular circumstances. While it can sometimes seem complicated, it is important for parents to understand the different types of visitation arrangements that can be reached.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Parental Visitation Rights FAQ," Accessed Sept. 3, 2017

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