Types of Child Visitation

When you are going through a divorce and there are children involved, you may be granted different types of visitations. There are a variety of factors that can impact what type of visitation you get with your child when they are not living with you full-time. As you determine what type of visitation you will have with your child, it’s always a priority to keep the child’s best interest in mind.

When parents can agree on the type of visitation and the family court approves, it is a smoother transition for everyone. If parents cannot agree, having the guidance of an experienced family attorney can help you make the best decision when it comes to visitation.

What are Parent Visitation Rights?

If one parent is considered the custodial parent with primary custody, the non-custodial parent may have visitation rights. When ordered by the court, the custodial parent must comply with the visitation plan. Visitation rights ensure that the non-custodial parent remains an active part in the child’s life, even if the custodial parent does not agree. There are times when the non-custodial parent does not exercise the visitation rights that are granted to them.

3 Types of Child Visitation

Reasonable Visitation

Reasonable visitation is an open-ended plan where parents work out a schedule themselves. If parents get along with each other well and communicate, this type of visitation can be successful for everyone involved. But this is not always the case. If this is the type of visitation you have, be sure that you are always making the child’s best interest a priority.

Fixed Visitation

When the divorced couple cannot come to a child custody agreement, the family court will set a fixed visitation schedule. This will detail specific days and times for each visit that considers the needs of both parents Fixed visitation schedules also consider holidays and school vacations, often alternating between parents.

Many parents prefer a fixed visitation plan because it gives them a schedule and gives the child a sense of security and consistency. This is also beneficial for parents who cannot get along because the schedule is set for them, reducing the amount of interaction they need to have. A judge will also do their best to set a fixed visitation schedule that is fair to both parties, something that may not happen if parents try to make their own plan and cannot get along.

Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation requires the other parent, a trusted adult, or a trained professional to be present when a child is visiting. These types of visits often occur at specific, court-appointed facilities, but can take place at the parent’s home or in other public places.

A supervised visit is often granted if the parent has a history of mental illness, domestic violence, or drug use.

Can the Court Grant No Visitation Rights?

While it is rare, the court can decide not to grant a parent any visitation rights. If a parent is deemed dangerous or harmful to a child or has a history of abuse, parents may receive no visitation. In these types of cases, parents may have a virtual visitation so that some kind of relationship can be maintained.

Factors That Influence Visitation

While the child’s best interest is always at the forefront of any visitation decision, there are several factors that a court will also consider.

Ability to Care for the Child

A parent’s ability to care for the child, such as their physical and mental health will be looked at, as well as their financial stability.

Child’s Needs

The physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child will be looked at closely as a judge decides visitation. If a child is old enough to express their wishes, the court will also consider that before making a decision.

Child’s Safety

The safety and well-being of the child are always looked at closely. If there are concerns that an unsupervised visit will put the child at risk, a supervised visitation schedule may be ordered.

Parent’s Background

Any criminal activity, cases of domestic violence, neglect, or substance abuse, will all be taken into consideration when determining visitation.

As the court considers these factors and sets a visitation order, it’s important to remember that courts do not often like to change a visitation schedule because it can create a lack of stability for the child, especially if it’s not in their best interest.

To change a visitation order, you need to petition the court and show a viable change in circumstances that makes a modification necessary.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to determining child visitation, the child’s best interest is paramount. Both custodial and non-custodial parents need to remember this, especially in cases where they may not agree with the court.

Reasonable, fixed, and supervised visitation are all options that the court can grant. Each case will look at factors such as the child’s needs and safety, as well as the parent’s background and ability to care for the child. In rare circumstances, a parent may not be granted any visitation if it will put the child in danger.

If parents can agree on visitation, it makes the process easier for everyone involved and provides the child with the stability they deserve as they maintain relationships with both parents.

If you are looking for more information on visitation or other family law issues like divorce, child custody, or child support, reach out to the Law Offices of William M. Strachan and we would be more than happy to assist you.