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Visitation Rights Laws

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What are Visitation Rights Laws?

Visitation rights laws govern which persons have access to child visitation sessions.  Child visitation may become necessary if the parents have split up or have become divorced, and only one parent is granted custody of the child. In such cases, the non-custodial parent may have certain visitation rights with regards to the child. 

While the non-custodial parent may have child visitation rights, these are usually limited to times and dates that are set according to a visitation schedule.  For instance, they might be able to spend time with their child every weekend, or every other weekend.  The child visitation schedule is always created with the child’s best interests and safety in mind. 

Who Has Visitation Rights?

In most cases, it is the child’s biological parents who have visitation rights.  This is usually automatically granted to the biological parents such as the father, unless they expressly forfeit their visitation or custody rights.

Other parties can sometimes be granted visitation rights, especially if that person has acted as the child’s caretaker or guardian.  This can include close relatives of the parents and stepparents.  Grandparents visitation rights are also frequently granted, especially where the biological parents are not able to care for the child.  

Can Visitation Rights Be Lost?

Visitation rights can sometimes be lost or forfeited by the parent or legal guardian of the child.  This can be due to reasons such as:

  • There is a history of abuse or violence toward the child or the child’s parent
  • The parent has been deemed “unfit” for taking care of the child
  • The parent or guardian has been convicted of certain crimes, such as violent felonies, sexual assault, or crimes involving children
  • The parent has forfeited their legal rights to another party

Also, visitation arrangements can sometimes be modified in order to protect the child’s safety.  For instance, supervised visitation requires that the parent and child meet in a controlled area with the presence of a supervisor who will oversee the interaction times.  This helps to ensure the child’s safety and well-being during the visitation times. 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Legal Issues Involving Visitation Rights?

Visitation rights laws can be different in each region, and each custody/visitation case will be different from the next.  You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with any visitation rights laws or regulations.  Your attorney can help ensure that your child is receiving the most advantageous visitation arrangement for their proper upbringing.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-28-2015 09:58 AM PDT

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