Parents who are denied custody of their children are often entitled to generous visitation rights, unless visitation with the non-custodial parent does not serve the child's best interests. The child's welfare is the court's primary concern with custody and visitation matters. Parents may be denied visitation rights for the following reasons:
- A court finds evidence of domestic violence that was directed toward the child, the child's parent, or a sibling
- The parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse
- The parent's parental rights have been terminated
Here is some more information about visitation rights:
After visitation has been established, a court may issue a visitation schedule which gives a detailed account of when parents can exercise visitation rights. A visitation schedule may allow non-custodial visitation rights on:
- Weekends or alternative weekends
- Summer vacations
It's always best for parents to determine a visitation schedule together. However, if parents are unable to communicate with each other, a family court judge will determine an appropriate visitation schedule.
Types of Alternative Visitation Rights
- Restricted visitation rights: Custodial parents may want to restrict visitation for non-custodial parents for several reasons including medical concerns, age of a child, or because a non-custodial parent may be institutionalized.
- Supervised visitation rights: A court may order supervised visitation rights for a parent which includes court-ordered contact between a parent and a child that is supervised by another person. A court will generally order supervised visitation rights if the parent poses a danger to the child.
- Overnight visitation rights: Some custodial parents may be reluctant to allow a non-custodial parent to have a child for overnight visits. A court will determine whether a custodial parent has legitimate concerns and reach a decision on overnight visitation accordingly.
Modifying Visitation Rights
If the current visitation rights are no longer desirable for either parent, the parent should seek a modification of visitation rights by starting a case in family court. Additionally, a parent should communicate openly about possible changes to the visitation schedule with the child's other parent.
For more information about visitation rights, visit the child custody guidelines of your state or speak with a qualified attorney in your state.