What is Child Visitation?

Child visitation is an important aspect of any divorce case involving children. Once custody is established, the non-custodial party is going to be awarded visitation. Visitation can range from limited to very liberal. A standard for visitation that we see in many cases is alternating holidays, alternating weekends, and possibly a day during the week. You may also see extensive visitation time over the summer break and over the winter break. Things like holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the child’s birthday are all itemized in a divorce decree so that it can be followed.

Once parties become divorced, the divorce decree is basically the bible that they are going to follow, vis-à-vis the rights of one another and what they need to do to comply with the order. If the visitation schedule is not well thought out or well written, you may very well have a problem exercising your visitation rights in the future. In those cases, parties have to go back into court after the judgment has been entered, which is known as post-decree, and seek redress from the court.

The most common complaint is that a party will state that he or she is not being allowed the visitation that’s provided in the judgment. In a limited number of cases, a party will argue that the visiting parent is not exercising the visitation rights given to him or her under the divorce decree. In either of those situations, the court can do one of several things. The court can enforce the visitation, hold one of the parties in contempt, or deny visitation.

So visitation is a key element of a divorce case. You want to ensure that the non-custodial parent has adequate visitation rights, and really, for the best interest of the child to have a relationship with both parties, you want to ensure that there is access to visitation and that it’s very structured.

For help with visitation issues, consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the difficult process of filing the proper motions in the court system.