Divorce: Father's Visitation Rights
Few issues in divorce are as important and emotional as parents’ visitation rights. Often, the mother is given more contact hours with the children. So, the mother ends up broadly controlling the children’s activities and plans.
It is inevitable that the mother will not be able to adhere to strict time requirements, as when children are ill or are taking a nap. However, it is when the mother’s level of control extends unreasonably into the father’s visitation hours that the father’s rights are violated.
The divorce decree grants the father certain visitation rights – the decree’s provisions are the important things to consider. Among the father’s rights is the right to visit the children during the appointed hours, the right to plan and schedule activities during the allotted time, and the right to be free from the mother’s control, impositions, or threats to retain custody during that time. It is the father’s right to call the police if his visitation hours are infringed upon, in order to get a police report for proof in later modification proceedings.
Fathers’ rights include getting an injunction to stop the mother from moving and taking the children out-of-state, for example. The father has the right to petition the court for a subsequent ruling on issues that had not been provided for in the divorce decree, such as the wife’s taking the children out of state.
However, fathers also have “non-rights.” Fathers do not have the right to withhold child support payments when the mother is in violation of his visitation rights – these are two separate issues. Fathers do not have the right to verbally abuse the mother in order to enforce his visitation rights; he should act with the utmost maturity and discernment to maintain his credibility with the divorce court.
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Last Modified: 11-08-2011 04:32 PM PST
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