Child Custody and Visitation
One of the most important decisions parents can make after a divorce or separation is how to resolve custody and visitation issues which promote the best interest of their child. It is always in a child’s best interest for his or her parents to agree upon when the child will be with each parent and under what circumstances parenting time will take place.
What is decided in a custody agreement?
Most custody orders result in a fixed visitation schedule that addresses the following:
- where the child will reside
- which days and times each parent will have visitation
- where the child will spend holidays, birthdays, and summer vacations
- where and how child exchanges will occur
Parents are encouraged to be as specific as possible in how all issues will be handled in the future. By having a detailed, written agreement, all parties can be prepared for future circumstances and avoid conflict.
Can the arrangement for child custody be modified?
Custody and parenting time arrangements can be modified if there has been a change in circumstances. The changed circumstances can pertain to either party, both parties, and/or the child(ren). If there have been changed circumstances warranting a modification of the custody or parenting time arrangement, the parties will need to agree upon the appropriate modifications.
It is important that each party always remain flexible and accomodating when it comes to adjusting parenting time to ensure it is in the best interest of the child(ren).
Third Party Visitation Rights
Every family has unique circumstances, and sometimes, it is in a child’s best interest for someone other than the child’s parents to have visitation rights.
Stepparents, grandparents, siblings, and other nonparental third parties may have a legal right to spend time with a child. However, this right is not automatically conferred like the relationship between a parent and child. Obtaining visitation time (or custody) is not guaranteed as laws vary from state to state. A third party must prove to the Court that his or her custody of and/or visitation with a child is in the best interest of the child, and more often than not, applications are strongly opposed.
If you are a a third party seeking visitation rights, you are encouraged to consult with an attorney to see whether or not your specific circumstance may allow visitation.
We Are Here to Help You
If parents cannot come to a child custody and visitation agreement, the Court may step in to decide upon parenting time based on what they deem fair and appropriate. Our attorneys can work with you to come to an agreement that works for you and your child and avoid a Court ordered decision.
If you are in need of assistance regarding child custody and visitation issues, do not hesitate to contact our attorneys. We are here to help you and your family in any way that we can.