Visitation rights – it’s something that comes up in nearly all child support cases involving divorce or separation. But what exactly is visitation, and how is it managed?
To break it down, visitation rights for fathers or mothers simply refers to the right of a child’s biological parent to visit their child during legally appointed or pre-arranged times and/or locations. More typically, fathers are the ones who are granted visitation rights, as mothers still tend to be the one rewarded custody. Because custody is often granted to one parent, the other must be given visitation rights by the court.
What is not commonly known or understood is that visitation is not automatically guaranteed. Courts will conduct investigations to see if a father or mother is fit for visitation. There are other complicated manners – for example, if a parent wishes to contest visitation rights. Or if a parent has serious felonies or other crimes, they can lose out on visitation.
Generally, visitation rights vary by state. We have some good information on our child support resource pages, which can help you across state lines and better understand how laws are managed. Visitation rights can also be modified. Changes can be made under several circumstances, including:
- If Either parent is moving or relocating to a difference place of residence
- Work schedules, hours, or locations change
- Either parent wishes the terms to be changed or granted to another member of the family
- The child has new needs that must be accommodated – such as schools, illness, etc.
Again, visitation and the rights associated with it are as complicated as other aspects of child support. Whether its payments of laws, we recommend seeking advice of a professional should you have any serious questions. You can reach out to our family law network for help.