One of the things that may have to be decided during a divorce is the issue of visitation rights. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, visitation is usually granted to the non-custodial parent. The courts try to ensure that parents and children continue to have a relationship, so it is rare for a judge to deny visitation. However, the court will act in the best interests of the child.
If the non-custodial parent is deemed unfit or the court thinks the child would be harmed by having contact with them, visitation can be denied. Otherwise, the parent who doesn’t have physical custody of the child gets set times during which they can visit their minor child or children.
Devising a Visitation Arrangement
If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you can come up with your own agreement regarding custody and visitation. However, you will need to submit it to the court for approval. If it is approved, it will be incorporated into the final judgment. This ensures that the agreement can be enforced by the court if the other parent tries to deviate from the plan. If you don’t submit the agreement to the court and only come to an informal arrangement, you won’t have any recourse if your former spouse doesn’t stick to the plan.
In cases where the parents can’t agree on a visitation schedule, this becomes a contested issue in the divorce and the court will have to decide. It is standard for the non-custodial parent to get one weeknight, alternating weekends and a few weeks during the summer. However, this is not set in law and parents can fight for different arrangements.
If a visitation order is in place and either parent violates it, that person may be held in contempt of court. Since punishment may include jail time and fines, you need to make sure you adhere to the order. If your circumstances change drastically and the arrangement no longer works for you, you can seek a modification of the order. Your Albany divorce lawyer can assist you with this.
Arranging Summer and Holiday Visitation
Holidays and school breaks can be difficult during and after divorce when there are minor children involved. Often, neither parent wants to spend important dates away from their children so it can be difficult for them to come to an agreement. Having a parenting plan can help to make things easier for everyone involved. Regardless of how you feel about the other parent, you should try to work with them to come up with holiday and summer visitation plans.
This ensures that both parents get to spend some time with the kids and allows you to make travel plans, take time off work, or arrange childcare. A parenting plan can also help the children to cope with the divorce better since they’ll know what to expect.
Summer is important for most families and you should try to agree on a schedule. Children are usually occupied with summer camp and other activities during this period. Both parents should be on the same page about what the children will be involved in and how this could affect visitation. Doing this at the earliest opportunity can reduce conflict and ensure your children enjoy their summer.
Divorces are tough but putting the children’s interests first will reduce the input of the court. Ideally, you don’t want a judge deciding where your children will spend their time.
When Supervised Visitation is Necessary
If there are allegations or proven incidents of child abuse, neglect, violence, or substance abuse, a judge may decide that the non-custodial parent shouldn’t be alone with the child. A third party would have to present for all visits. This is known as supervised visitation and it is preferred over no visitation at all.
Sometimes, the court may order that a friend or family member sits in on the visit. On other occasions, a more formal program may be set up so that a social worker or another professional can monitor the child’s wellbeing. The supervisor usually sits quietly and takes notes, only intervening if they need to protect the parent or the child. While this isn’t the ideal way for a parent and child to spend time together, it allows children to stay in contact with both of their parents and maintain an ongoing relationship.
Contact Joe Durham Jr. P.C. Today to Discuss Your Visitation Plan
Let our Albany, GA divorce lawyers help you to come up with the best visitation arrangement for your family. We’ll keep your child’s best interest at the forefront of everything we do. Call us today to set up a consultation.