Visitation is usually referred to as parenting time and indicates a specific schedule that each parent has with their child. Both parents may request visitation, and it is also possible for grandparents to file a case for parenting time in some situations.
You can learn more about your right to spend time with your children by contacting a skilled child custody attorney from our firm. One of our Suwanee visitation lawyers can help you understand and assert your rights in and out of the courtroom.
Visitation is different from custody. There is physical custody, which is where the children live, and there is legal custody, which is who makes decisions about the children’s welfare. Visitation or parenting time, on the other hand, is a schedule specifying when the kids are with their non-custodial parent. Parents who are not awarded physical custody still have a right to spend time with their children, absent evidence of otherwise.
The amount of contact visitation allows between a parent and child depends on what the court or parents decide is in the child’s best interests. Suwanee courts typically want to see the child have a close relationship with both parents, which means equal parenting time for both parents.
Most often, though, we see judges awarding a primary physical custodian with 60 percent of parenting time and the secondary physical custodian with the remaining 40 percent. Typically, unless there is a serious concern about the safety and caring capacity of either parent, both parents are going to have liberal time with their children.
Ideally, parents will determine and regulate visitation on their own in an agreement that they deem to be in the best interests of the children. If parents cannot come to an agreement, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the best interests of the kids before a judge.
The court-appointed attorney will conduct an investigation and make a recommendation to the court on what they think is in the best interests of the child regarding visitation and custody. If the case goes to trial, then the judge is the one who ultimately decides on an appropriate parenting schedule, regardless of either parents’ wishes.
The most common family law situation that leads to an award of visitation rights in Suwanee is divorce. When two parents get divorced, the court must decide who will get to see the children and when, based on their best interests.
Another common scenario is a legitimation case. When there has never been a marriage and/or any kind of acknowledgement of paternity, the biological father can ask for a visitation schedule during the legitimation of his paternal relationship to the child.
Supervised visitation may be appropriate in situations where there is a concern about child safety with one parent. Sometimes, parenting time may be supervised by any individual whom the parents can agree on. For example, parents might be able to agree to a mutual friend or family member that both of them trust to be present during the visit. That is technically supervised visitation, but it allows some flexibility.
In other cases, one parent drops the child off at a local visitation center, and the parent with supervised parenting time must complete their visit there and cannot leave with the child. Supervised visitation may also take place at a park or mall and can even involve an activity with the child, but a supervisor comes along and makes sure everything is appropriate and safe.
Working with a local attorney who is familiar with what the courts typically order, and what guardians typically recommend for parenting time, can help you avoid asking a judge for something that is highly unlikely. When an individual drafts their own visitation schedule and submits it to the court without an attorney’s help, there are many different things that that parent may not have thought to include. Don’t let something you don’t know stop you from having full visitation rights with your children.
Our Suwanee visitation lawyers know all the details that need to be addressed to have the best chance of reducing conflict between parents. Call our intake team today to learn more.