Everything You Should Know about Child Visitation
Going through a separation or divorce is a stressful, emotional and sometimes painful ordeal. For many parents, the worst and most upsetting concern revolves around child visitation. The change in the family means that some parents won’t be able to see their child every day or watch them grow and develop. It’s essential for any parent to have the ability and right to have a significant presence in the life of their child. While it may seem impossible or hopeless, there are always options.
Child visitation is one of the ways the pain of separation can be eased. With a well-planned visitation schedule, you can regularly see your child. You can still become a significant and influential person in their life. With the expertise and guidance from the Lansing divorce lawyers at The Clark Law Office, you won’t have to feel the fear of loss and separation. There are always options. Contact us for a free consultation today!
Determining Child Visitation Rights
Child visitation rights are the rights of the children. That is, they are always determined by the court in the best interest and welfare of the child. Because of the potential impact of child visitation, settling on the schedule and extents tend to be highly contested. It can be difficult to navigate alone without losing or compromising too much. With an expert in family law, you can have the know-how to arrive at the best possible solution for everyone. You need a visitation attorney to help lay out differences in a Parenting Agreement and Custody Order.
When it comes to child visitation rights, you need to understand what “joint custody” and “sole custody” means. While the definition of these terms can vary between courts, there’s a general rule that we can follow. In both joint and sole custody, both parents are needed to make a decision on big changes in a child’s life. Both the resident parent, or the parent whom the child lives with, and the non-custodial parent should have a say. In sole custody, the residential parent has the right to make the majority of everyday decisions without consulting the non-custodial parent. These minor decisions can range from the child joining band or sports, or choosing which dentist or pediatrician to go to.
As a non-custodial parent, having less say in everyday decisions is not the end of the world. You also have the right to be an influential part of your child’s life. The law, and the judges and courts realize the importance of having each parent fulfill a role in a child’s life. In most cases, resolutions are made to ensure rights as close to 50% as possible. Having such a fair solution is good for the parents and also beneficial for the child. In fact, visitation interference can be considered a crime in many states.
Factors Affecting Child Visitation Rights
Even the best and most experienced family law attorney won’t be able to guarantee the most favorable solution for you. There will always be some level of compromise for the child. A lot of the decisions are also influenced by factors relevant to benefits to the child and even practicality.
These are some factors affecting child visitation rights:
- How much time the parent spent with the child in the past
- Whether or not the parent had overnight time alone with the child in the past
- Current living conditions of the non-custodial parent
- History of abuse between the child and the parent
- The geographical distance between the non-custodial and custodial parents’ homes, including the school district of the child
- Schedule of the child and of the non-custodial parent
There are also some factors which won’t determine the schedule and extent of child visitation. These non-factors include:
- Whether or not the non-custodial parent is paying child support
- Employment status of the non-custodial parent
- Remarriage of either parent
Keep in mind that these factors don’t represent a black and white checklist. Each factor has its own merits and weight depending on the situation. The best course of action is to consult a visitation lawyer for an evaluation of where you are, what to expect, and what you need to do to get started.
Take Action for Child Visitation Today
When it comes to the child visitation battle, every action you take matters. In fact, even how fast you act will come into play. Fighting and defending your right to visit your child as early as possible is clear evidence that you still want to be part of your child’s life. Conversely, not acting quickly will make courts question why you waited too long to start. Is being part of your child’s life vital to you? Don’t waste time asking questions on how to do this or trying to work things out with the other parent. By getting in touch with a visitation attorney, you can help process any fears or misconceptions while exploring all options. Here at The Clark Law Office, we fight for your child visitation rights. Don’t wait. Act now!