Parents have a right to seek child visitation or child custody. Like other child custody decisions, courts use the best interest of the child to decide disputed child visitation or custody cases. When custody is denied, the court often grants generous visitation rights. Learn about them below — and if you have any questions at all about these important matters, we can get you the answers you need. We know this is stressful for your whole family, so can act quickly and decisively and work hard to obtain the outcomes you are seeking.
Parents who are denied child custody in court are often granted generous visitation rights. In most cases, the courts strongly support and encourage the involvement of both parents, even when they determine that living in one consistent location would be in the child’s best interests. Therefore, if you recently lost a bid for custody in court, you should exercise your visitation rights and maintain a close relationship with your child. As a first step, you’ll need to understand why you were not granted custody and what your visitation rights are.
Reasons Parents Are Denied Child Custody
The court’s primary concern is your child’s safety and well-being. Yet, being denied custody doesn’t necessarily mean that the judge determined that your home is unsuitable. In many cases, the courts favor granting physical custody to the parent who has been the child’s primary caregiver up to that point, or they conclude that traveling back and forth between two homes is not in the child’s best interests.
Common Types of Visitation
Even if you’ve been denied custody, you may be granted visitation rights with your child. This typically happens during the child custody hearing. In many jurisdictions, the courts will issue a formal visitation schedule which includes a detailed account of the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. Also called a parenting time schedule, the visitation schedule may grant you visitation rights on:
- Weekends or alternate weekends
- One or two weeknights (weekly or on alternating weeks)
- Summer vacations
Courts generally prefer to see parents collaborate on the logistics. However, if you and your ex do not have a good working relationship or are unable to reach an agreement, the judge may step in and determine an appropriate visitation schedule for you.
Help for Parents Denied Visitation
In some cases, parents may be denied visitation rights in addition to child custody. Some of the reasons why a parent’s visitation rights may be denied by the courts include:
- The parent has not exercised his or her visitation rights in the past
- The parent no longer has contact with the child
- Because the court finds evidence of domestic violence that was directed toward the child, the child’s parent, or a sibling
- The parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse
- The parent’s parental rights have been terminated
Parents who have been denied visitation may have the opportunity to later have their visitation rights restored. In some cases, the court will spell out an action plan that includes taking parenting classes or other steps toward restoration.
Types of Alternative Visitation Rights
While regular, unrestricted visitation may be preferable, there are some alternatives for parents who have been denied visitation. These include:
- Supervised Visitation Rights: The court may order supervised visitation rights, which includes court-ordered contact between a parent and a child that is supervised by another person. The court will generally order supervised visitation rights in situations where the courts believe the parent could pose a physical danger to the child.
- Virtual Visitation Rights: The court may allow you to participate in virtual visitation with the child or children. In such cases, the custodial parent shall be required to facilitate virtual visits via Skype, FaceTime, or another video service.
Modifying Visitation Rights
If your current visitation schedule is no longer desirable, or you wish to have the courts re-evaluate your case, you can request a modification of visitation rights. Some jurisdictions limit how often you can file such a request, so you’ll want to check with the court clerk or your lawyer for more information about how to formally request a modification.
If you have more questions about your visitation rights, don’t hesitate to contact a Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer. ZAGERLAW, P.A., is here to help you address the legal proceedings for a quick closure on your divorce. We also offer criminal law representation, in excellence. We do things differently than other lawyers — contact us today for a free consultation at 954-888-8170, or email info@ZagerLaw.com. We can also be found on Facebook here.