Divorces are often messy. Even when you thing the toughest part is done, another obstacle shortly pops up. After assets have been divided, custody has been awarded, and child support has been set up, visitation rights must be decided. Visitation is when the non-custodial parent visits their children. This can be every other weekend, once a month, or any other time period. Arrangements can be made between the parents but cannot be forced unless agreed upon in front of the court or a family law attorney.
Most lawyers and court systems encourage the parents to come to an agreement. If you cannot agree, they may require you to participate in some sort of mediation process to attempt a resolution. A third party such as a social worker may be used to help with the mediation process. When an agreement is not possible through mediation, the court makes the decision on visitation rights and the frequency of visits. The judge may require a mental evaluation to be performed on both of you.
Dragging this process out can be devastating to each contesting party and the children. One result is very high legal fees. The children are emotionally strained and confused. Sometimes a parent will be denied custodial or visitation rights. It is always better to work together and try to determine what is best for the children. If they have a great relationship with the non-custodial parent and they are close more frequent visits are better for the child. Strained relationships might need less frequent or supervised visits.
The child themselves can come between the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent and may refuse to see them. If this is happening, the issue should be discussed between the two of you so the parent with visitation rights knows it is the child’s choice and does not feel like the other parent is denying them their rights. If you automatically side with your child and visitation ceases, visitation rights can be enforced by the court. Even though it may be hard to discuss matters with your ex-spouse, discussing the children openly and dealing with visitation and custody problems together can decrease legal hassles and result in more positive and rewarding relationships between the children and both of their parents.
Any time the parent with primary custody prevents visitation from occurring it is called frustrated visitation rights. This can be innocent such as a sudden emergency during the visitation time. It can range all the way to very severe as in the parent skips state or country with the child. An act like this is considered kidnapping and is a criminal offense. Doing so intentionally can be grounds for the court to drastically modify or terminate the primary parent’s custody rights.
If you are currently dealing with visitation decisions due to a current divorce or are being denied your visitation rights, divorce lawyers can help with any matter relating to visitation. These types of lawyers can be used in cases where the non-custodial parent does not return the child after their visitation period.