Visitation Rights for Fathers

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What are Visitation Rights for Fathers?

Visitation rights for fathers refers to the ability of a child’s biological father to spend time with the child during pre-arranged meeting times.  In many divorce or legal separation cases, custody of a child or children may sometimes be granted to only one parent (traditionally this has been the mother).  As a result, the biological father may be granted visitation times so that the child can spend time with both parents. 

Over the years, this traditional view of child custody has given way to more flexible child custody and visitation arrangements if possible.  For instance, the father may be granted split or partial custody, or full custody depending on the child’s needs.  Fathers’ visitation rights are only a part of the overall picture of child-rearing, which includes custody, child support, and other factors. 

Are Visitation Rights for Fathers Automatically Granted?

Visitation rights are not automatically granted to the child’s biological father.  While the court generally prefers to keep custody and visitation between the child’s biological parents, the court still needs to conduct analysis as to whether the father is fit for visitation with the child.  They may consider factors such as the child’s past relationship with father; the father’s financial and work background; and the physical and mental well-being of the father.

Also, if there were past incidents of child abuse or spousal violence caused by the father, the court may limit child visitation rights, or they may even deny visitation altogether.  Also, serious crimes or repetitions of crimes can cause a parent to lose their child visitation privileges. 

Can Visitation Rights be Modified?

Yes- in fact, most visitation schedules that are issued by a court will undergo one or more revisions later on in the future.  This can be necessary if there are major changes in circumstances, such as:

Modifications or changes to visitation schedules should be submitted to the court before the parties actually start adopting a new schedule.  Violations of visitation orders can lead to serious consequences. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help With Visitation Rights for Fathers?

Every area may have different laws when it comes to the guidelines for fathers’ visitation rights.  It may be necessary for you to hire a lawyer for assistance with visitation rights or any other family law issues.  Your attorney can provide you with guidance and can help ensure that your visitation rights are being protected.  Also, your lawyer will be able to consult with you regarding any new developments with laws or with the facts of the case. 

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Last Modified: 06-25-2013 11:27 AM PDT

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