If you’re in the process of getting divorced and also have children with your spouse, child custody is a big concern. Custody comes in two forms: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to your rights as a parent or guardian, including making decisions about your child’s education, healthcare, religion, and general welfare. Physical custody refers to where your child lives. If you are divorcing with children, you must understand the differences between sole custody and joint custody and how visitation rights affect your case.
Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody
Before you get into the ins and outs of visitation rights, you first need to understand the difference between sole custody and joint custody. Sole legal custody is where one parent is awarded full legal custody of the children. This means that parent has the right to make all decisions on behalf of the child, including the child’s upbringing and education. The parent with sole custody is referred to as the primary parent, while the other parent is referred to as the secondary parent.
Joint custody is where both parents are awarded an equal share of custody. This means that both parents have an equal say in their child’s upbringing and education decisions. If both parents have joint custody, the child likely spends equal time with each parent, also known as joint physical custody.
Understanding Visitation Rights
Visitation rights, or the legal right for a parent to spend time with their child, are an important part of any child custody arrangement. They are especially important during divorce proceedings. Visitation is important for several reasons.
First, for your child’s mental and emotional health, they need to maintain a relationship with both of their parents. One parent will often try and terminate or severely limit their child’s relationship with the other parent. Visitation helps protect your children and ensure they have both of their parents in their lives.
Visitation can also be invaluable for helping a child through a divorce. When a child is going through a divorce, they may experience a wide range of emotions. Visitation helps them cope with these feelings and adjust to this major life change.
Visitation Rights and Your Custody Case
Visitation may be something you’re entitled to by law, but the courts still consider it a form of child custody. This means that the courts will consider visitation rights when determining what kind of custody arrangements are in your child’s best interests.
You’ll want to make sure you include visitation in your custody case. This includes making sure you and your spouse sign off on any visitation schedules and writing it in an agreement. Visitation can help strengthen your custody case in a few ways.
First, it shows the courts that you are capable of co-parenting and are committed to maintaining a relationship with your child. It also shows that you’re dedicated to helping your child through this tough time by maintaining their relationship with the other parent.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for visitation to become court-ordered? Visitation can be ordered at any time. However, it’s more common for a court to order visitation once one or both parents file for custody.
How long will visitation last? Visitation orders will usually specify a certain length of time. It’s common for visitation to last until the child turns 18.
What happens if one parent refuses to abide by the visitation order? If one parent refuses to abide by the visitation order, you can file a motion with the court. This is often referred to as a petition for contempt. A firm like James W Bodiford Jr Law Office can help with this, and other visitation and custody issues, by walking you through the process, filing paperwork, and representing you in court.
When is visitation automatically terminated? Visitation is automatically terminated if one parent dies, the child is emancipated (they turn 18 or graduate high school, whichever comes first), changes in custody arrangements, or if one parent files for a change in the visitation schedule.
Visitation rights are an essential part of any child custody case. They allow your child to maintain a relationship with both parents, which is crucial for their mental and emotional health. Visitation is also a great way to show the courts you’re capable of co-parenting and that you’re committed to helping your child through this tough time by maintaining their relationship with the other parent.