When a court of law awards exclusive child custody to one parent, the non-custodial parent may be awarded visitation rights. Child visitation rights are not automatically considered as granted but they are a privilege. It is possible for a court of law to withhold child visitation rights if there is evidence that it is not in the best interest for a parent to see the child. For example, child visitation rights can be denied if a court of law believes that the parent is an excessive user of alcohol, a user of illegal narcotics, or is physically or verbally abusive. Even if child visitation rights have been denied, the noncustodial parent may still be ordered to pay their child support responsibilities.
Visitation Rights for Non-Custodial Parents
As opposed to a custodial parent who has the primary custody of the child, a non-custodial parent is one who does not have the primary custody of the child. For example, the custodial parent may have custody of the child for many weeks, but the non-custodial parent may have custody of the child for one or two weekends per month. In addition, the non-custodial parent may only have certain visitation privileges such as only being allowed to see their child during the day. Non-custodial parents might have set limitations on their legal rights to make major decisions on behalf of the child.
Non-custodial parents do retain some rights such as the following:
- Being able to access the child’s medical or school records
- The right to pay child support payments
- The right to spend holidays with the child (this could be for the entire holiday or only parts of it depending on what both the parties and court decides is best for the child)
- The right to report any abuse, neglect, or other factors exhibited by the custodial parent that have a negative impact on the child and
- Various other rights that are generally listed in the parties’ child custody agreement
It is important to note that even though the above list covers most of the rights a non-custodial parent may have, each child custody case is different from the next due to the varying laws of each state and the individual circumstances presented in each case.
About Visitation Schedules
If the judge presiding over a divorce determines that the non-custodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation, it generally means that it is left to the parents of the child to come up with a plan of parental visitation time. This is generally the most preferred over other means of determining visitation schedules because it allows the parents to work around on their respective schedules. However, the custodial parent has more power and influence over what is considered as reasonable visitation in terms of times and duration.
The custodial parent has no legal duty to agree to any proposed visitation schedule. However, if a parent is being inflexible just to be malicious towards his or her ex-spouse, a judge may take this into consideration if that parent asks for something later.
For a reasonable visitation schedule to work, the parents must be willing to communicate with each other in a sane and rational manner. If the parents are currently under a reasonable visitation plan that is not working, the non-custodial parent may go back to the court and ask for a different arrangement in terms of parental visitation rights.
About Supervised Visitation
In some cases, visitation rights may be suspended, denied, or restricted if the court finds that it would be contrary to the best interests of the child. Supervised visitation may be considered by the courts due to the following factors:
- When the parent has committed an express violation of the custody agreement that results in the loss of custody or visitation rights
- If the parent has become a threat to the child’s safety or well-being, such as if they are violent toward the child
- When the parent’s current lifestyle is incompatible with the set visitation schedule. For example, if the visitation arrangement specifies that the non-custodial parent may take custody of the child every weekend, but then the parent moves to another country, this factor may alter the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights.
Contact a Beverly Hills and Los Angeles Child Visitation Lawyer Today to Learn About Your Visitation Rights
Located in Beverly Hills and serving clients throughout Los Angeles, The Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler represents non-custodial parents in child visitation matters. To schedule a free consultation today to speak about your unique situation, contact us online or call 310-246-3900.