Parental Visitation Rights

Child custody matters are never easy, and visitation is usually a primary concern of couples going through a divorce. As a principal matter, it’s critical to know your state’s child custody laws and discover answers to your questions concerning legal custody and visitation questions. Below you are going to discover some of the more frequently asked questions concerning parental visitation rights following a separation or divorce.

The judge stated, “reasonable visitation,” what is that?

When the judge presiding your separation or divorce has established that either you or your ex was permitted “reasonable visitation” devoid of setting out a visitation schedule, this typically means that it is up to the parents of the child to devise with a plan of parental visiting time. When the parents can still cooperate, this is usually preferred over other ways of establishing visitation schedules since it allows the parents to work around their individual schedules.

In fact, nevertheless, the parent with custodial rights will usually have more authority and influence over what is deemed “reasonable visitation” in terms of times and length. Both the custodial and non-custodial parent have a commitment to act ethically and negotiate reasonable visitation due to the fact of how important it is for the welfare of the child to have as constructive a relationship as possible with each of their parents.

For a reasonable visitation plan to function, parents need to be willing to communicate with each other in a sensible, rational manner. When you know or believe that you and your ex are not going to be able to cooperate with a reasonable visitation schedule, you should let the judge know so and stand firm on a fixed visitation schedule instead. Additionally, if you and your ex are presently under a sensible visitation plan that isn’t working, you might go back to court and petition for a different arrangement associated with parental visitation rights. Don’t forget that “virtual visitation,” like face timing, is optional in some states.

I have been placed on a “fixed visitation” schedule by the judge, what is that?

Typically, a fixed visitation schedule is one in which the judge orders times (and occasionally places) whereas the non-custodial parent shall have parental visitation. Such as a non-custodial parent with visitation rights on Tuesday and Friday nights, or just on holiday weekends.

Additionally, many courts are more prone to issue fixed visitation schedules due to the fact that it offers some stability that children can rely on in a generally distressing and confusing time in their lives.

My ex was frequently physically abusive to both me and our children. Despite that abuse, they still received visitation rights. How can I hinder abuse throughout child visitation times?

When your ex-spouse has a history of being abusive, particularly towards your child or children, you can mention that to the court when they are determining parental visitation rights. Generally speaking, if a court deems that the non-custodial parent is prone to harm or abuse the child during their visitation times, the court is going to order that every visit be supervised.

Meaning any time the non-custodial parent spends with the child is required to be in the presence of another adult appointed by the court to supervise visitation and stop any abuse from happening to the child. This other individual could be a person agreed upon by the child’s parents, or many times it is an individual that is designated to the role by the court. Nevertheless, all supervisors are required to be approved by the court prior to them filling their roles.

Do my children’s grandparents have visitation rights?

Each state in the country has a law that enable some sort of grandparental visitation. Through these laws, grandparents (and occasionally others, such as step-parents or foster parents) can petition a court to award them the right to continue their relationship with the child(ren). On the other hand, each law is a little different in what a grandparent is required to show in order to obtain this legal right. Additionally, courts are going to generally give precedence to a parent’s decision to restrict grandparent visitation.

Fewer than half the states in the US have restrictive laws when it comes to grandparent visitations. In those states, it is occasionally only possible for a grandparent to get visitation rights under certain circumstances, like if one of the parents has passed away.

The leftover states typically have more permissive laws that allow the awarding of grandparent visitation rights even when all the parents are still living. Nevertheless, what is kept in mind in many cases is the child’s well-being.

What if a non-custodial parent makes no attempt to exercise their designated parenting time with their minor children?

Some custodial parents might seek to alter a visitation order based on a non-custodial parent’s neglect to exercise their fixed parental time. Whereas this might be appropriate in certain cases, a lot of attorneys argue it is not the best approach. Ultimately, minimizing parenting time for failure to exercise that time might not be realized by children.

Usually, when a non-custodial parent neglects to exercise their parenting time, the outcome needs to be to bring that parent back into their child’s life to guarantee that each of the parents are as involved as possible with the lives of their children. The child might endure the emotional stress or anguish of feeling unwelcome or unloved.

Having said that, many states have widely addressed this concern by law. In Tennessee, for example, a court might digress upward from statutory guideline support since a non-custodial parent’s neglect to exercise fixed parenting time. Not all states have agreed with this approach, and many courts have retained that a court is unable to pressure a parent to becoming more involved by threatening a bigger child support duty.

How can I restrict the visitation time the grandparents are going to have with my children?

If you try to restrict the visitation rights of your child’s grandparents, they might end up taking you to court for the enforcement of their rights. If you have valid reasoning that it is in your child best interests for you to deny the grandparents a facet of visitation rights (possibly they are abusive), you should feel content heading to court with convincing evidence to enforce your wishes.

On the other hand, you should most likely not go to court for denying grandparents visitation just for your own arrogance or invalid reasons that aren’t in the best interests of your child. In doing so, you are going to probably just wind-up wasting time and money since the grandparents are most likely going to receive visitation rights.

If you do head to court, it would be ideal to get there with a planned-out visitation agenda. In doing so, not only are you going to have a say in establishing the grandparent’s visitation rights, but you are also going to probably look better in the court’s eyes.

Generally, grandparents should be permitted with visitation rights of a couple evenings a month, usually for a few hours at a time. The duration should be enough to permit a meal and an activity. When the grandparents are not that involved in the children’s lives, you can petition the court to permit you or another court-approved individual to oversee and monitor the visits with the grandparents.

If you choose to go to court because of grandparent’s visitation rights, it might be worth your time and money to hire a mediator to assist you and the children’s grandparents establish a visitation schedule that works for everyone involved.

Being a grandparent that has visitation rights to my grandchildren, what do I do if the child’s parent wishes to restrict my visits?

In a lot of situations in which a child’s parent is trying to impede a grandparent’s visitation rights, the best initial course of action is to meet with a mediator and discuss the issue. In fact, in some states, a court is not even going to listen to a grandparent’s argument prior to all parties going to a mediator to discuss their situation. You can usually find mediators with knowledge in visitation issues by getting a hold of your local and/or state bar association.

Regrettably, mediation doesn’t work all the time and you might up in court battling for visitation rights. When this is your case, you need to be prepared to provide evidence displaying your strong relationship with your grandchild and that limitation of visitation with you is going to be detrimental to them and contrary to the best interests of the child.

The judge might ask you questions concerning your medical history to assess your health and can also inquire if you have had any issues with the law before.

It is helpful to remember that the decisive question that the judge keeps asking themselves is “what is in the child’s best interests.” If you have bad habits, such as smoking, be prepared to pledge that you are not going to smoke in the presence of the child. Additionally, if you have a disability that might put the child harms way, you need to be prepared to demonstrate that you are ready to have supervised visits to keep the child safe.

Discover More Concerning Parental Visitation Rights from an Attorney

Being a parent, the best interests of your child are always the most important aspect. But when you’ve endured a divorce or separation and wish to understand your parental rights and acquire the legal right to visit your child, you are going to need to comprehend the laws of your state. The best way to comprehend your state’s laws and guarantee that you’re safeguarding your visitation rights is to contact a child custody lawyer near you today.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2021, November 12). Parental visitation rights FAQ. Findlaw. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from

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