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When disputing custody, parents sometimes assume that if they are granted ‘visitation,’ they will only see their children every other weekend. In reality, there is no standard visitation schedule for noncustodial parents. Visitation must be determined based on each case’s unique facts, and any visitation schedule ordered by a judge or agreed upon by parents must be in the children’s best interests.

If you are fighting for your right to visit your children, a Cumming visitation lawyer from our team can help. Our firm’s goal is to assist you in obtaining a visitation schedule that meets your children’s needs and allows you to maintain a meaningful relationship with them. Our attorneys can also represent a parent who is denied visitation in violation of a court order as well as those who are accused of improperly withholding visitation from a noncustodial parent.

What is Child Visitation?

It is noncustodial parent’s right to spend time with their children, including overnight visits. Local courts generally assume that children benefit from significant time with both parents. However, if a judge determines that shared custody between parents is not in the children’s best interests, the parent who is not awarded custody may be granted visitation. Judges have broad discretion when setting visitation schedules, and an experienced attorney who practices in the Cumming area can advocate for a noncustodial parent to have as much time with their children as possible.

How is Visitation Determined?

In Cumming, a legal parent may request visitation as part of a divorce, custody, or paternity case or file a separate petition for visitation. Parents are required to submit a proposed parenting plan in every child custody case, and it must include a specific visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent or evidence of why awarding visitation would pose a threat of physical or emotional harm to the children. If the parents agree on a child-sharing arrangement, the court may incorporate it into a final custody and visitation order. If they disagree, a judge may order whatever visitation schedule they believe will best meet the children’s physical and emotional needs.

Visitation in Cases of Family Violence

If either parent has been abusive to the other or the children, a court may be less inclined to award visitation with the abusive parent absent evidence of whether it is in the children’s best interest. Otherwise, a judge may require that the visitation be supervised and occur at a secure location, such as a monitored visitation center, to ensure the safety of the children and the other parent. In cases involving abusive behavior by a parent, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Cumming attorney before agreeing to any visitation between the children and the abusive parent.

Consequences of Interfering with Visitation Rights

If one parent violates a court order regarding visitation, the other can ask the court to enforce the order and hold the non-compliant parent in contempt. Interference with visitation may involve failing to bring the children to the designated exchange location, regularly bringing the children late for visits, or refusing to adhere to the visitation schedule if the noncustodial parent is not current on their child support.

If the custodial parent is in contempt, a court may order them to:

  • Provide make-up visitation to the noncustodial parent;
  • Attend parenting classes;
  • Pay a fine;
  • Submit to a period of incarceration pursuant if the interference is deliberate and ongoing; or
  • Pay any costs resulting from their contempt, including the noncustodial parent’s legal fees.

A Forsyth County Superior Court judge cannot change custody at a contempt hearing, but they can modify the visitation arrangements. Additionally, if a custodial parent continues to violate a visitation order in bad faith, a judge may consider awarding custody to the other parent. A skilled lawyer can help a parent who is being denied visitation preserve their time with their children or defend a parent who has been accused of violating a court order.

Contact a Knowledgeable Visitation Attorney in Cumming

If you are not going to share equal parenting time, it is essential to secure a visitation schedule suitable for both you and your children. A Cumming visitation lawyer at our firm can assist you with developing a parenting plan that enables you to spend ample quality time with your kids. If you and the other parent do not agree on a schedule, one of our experienced attorneys can represent you in court and persuasively present your case to a judge. Call today to learn more.

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