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Visitation Rights- Child Custody Lawyers

Visitation rights are granted in all but the most extreme child custody cases. This is because it is considered to be in the best interest of the child if they can maintain a loving relationship with both parents.

Visitation exchange
When a child is transferred from one parent to the other before and after visitation conflicts can arise. If the parents are not on good terms, there is a potential for fighting and arguing which should not take place in the presence of the child. In some cases it becomes even more complicated because of restraining orders that do not allow for any contact between the parents. To alleviate these problems, some parents meet in public places or drop off and pick up their children with a mutually trusted third party.

Abusive parents
Even an abusive parent may be granted limited, supervised visitation. Visitation is not granted for the benefit of the parents. It is for the benefit of the child. Denying a child any contact whatsoever with a parent is considered harmful, unless the abuse has been severe.

Visitation vs. child support
Visitation and child support are legally unrelated issues. Many custodial parents have the misconception that they can deny visitation if the non-custodial parent has failed to pay child support. This is completely false. If there is  a court order that outlines visitation rights, and you violate that order by denying the other parent the right to see the child, you can go to jail, whether he or she has paid their court-ordered child support or not. Never misinterpret child support as payment for time with the child.

If a parent relocates with the child, he or she must inform the other parent or potentially face kidnapping charges. This does not mean that parents must obtain permission from each other to move. If the move is of a great enough distance as to disrupt the child’s relationship with either parent, then custody orders and visitation schedules may be modified in order to maintain the relationship. For instance, the non-custodial parent may be granted longer visits during the summer to replace weekend visits that are no longer possible.

Enforcing visitation
Sometimes parents will try to withhold a child and refuse to comply with visitation orders. This is contempt of court, and there are several things that you can do about it, but remember to keep your child’s best interest in mind when pursuing remedies. Have your attorney contact the other parent in writing. Most parents will realize that you are taking the offense seriously and will comply with the visitation schedule at this point. If that is not effective, you can take your ex-spouse to court. The non-compliant parent can be held in contempt and may face a jail sentence. You can also go to the police and have them accompany you in forcibly retrieving your child. This should be considered a last resort, as it is very upsetting to the child.

If you are trying to establish, expand, or enforce your visitation rights contact an experienced child custody attorney today.

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