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One of the most challenging issues divorced or separated parents must deal with is making child custody and visitation arrangements. The court system usually bases a decision on the "child's or children's best interests" when deciding child visitation arrangements.
What Does the "Child's Best Interest" Mean?
Deciding what's in the child's best interest is dependent on many factors, such as:
- Gender, age, grade level, and physical and/or emotional health of the child
- State of each parent's physical and mental health.
- The parents financial standing, debt and ability to provide for the child
- The mother and father's lifestyle
- The readiness of each parent to maintain a good relationship between the child and the other parent
- Established emotional ties between each parent and the child or children
- The child's wishes (if the child is over 12)
- How stable the each of the living situations appear to be
- Quality of the school districts in which the child will reside
Child Visitation Rights
Visitation rights permit the non-custodial parent (the person without physical child custody) to spend reasonable time with their child. "Reasonable Visitation" rights with the child are usually granted to the parent that does not have physical custody of the child. Child visitation time schedules can be structured or set by the court as part of the child custody agreement or left to the parents to agree upon. If the schedule is part of the agreement, any modification should documented and submit to the court for approval. See - Child Custody: How to Modify an Existing Child Custody or Visitation Order.
Denial of Child Visitation
Should the custodial parent interfere with the visitation schedule, the non-custodial parent may be compelled to seek other ways to continue the parent/child relationship. Non-payment of child support may be an issue for a modification of Child Visitation. Refer to these articles for more information: Denial of Child Visitation and Denied Child Visitation- Lawyers.