During and after a divorce, many parents, particularly fathers, are concerned that they will not be able to create a strong bond with their child. In an increasing number of divorces, both parents have joint physical and legal custody, which means that there is a regular schedule of visitation with the non-residential parent. If your ex has gotten sole custody, however, what does this mean for your visitation rights after divorce? Read on to find out whether visitation rights after divorce are guaranteed for both the non-custodial parent and the grandparents.
Non-Custodial Parents and Visitation
In almost all cases, non-custodial parents are able to have visitation rights after divorce with their child. Research has shown that it’s important for children to have a relationship and the chance to bond with both parents whenever possible. Every child, from infants and toddlers to older children and teens, benefit when they are allowed to get to know both of their parents.
A failure to accommodate this can be detrimental to the child. Studies have shown that kids who don’t have interaction with their fathers do less well in school. Boys are more likely to be aggressive and overly competitive. Girls tend to have sex earlier and are more likely to get pregnant during the teen years. Children need to have the perspective and guiding of both parents if visitation rights after divorce are at all possible.
Supervised Visitation Rights After Divorce
In some cases, one parent might not be able to provide a safe environment for a child. They might be addicted to substances or they might have been abusive or neglectful in the past. Although these are significant obstacles, visitation rights after divorce are still possible. To keep everyone safe, supervised visitation will generally be required.
During supervised visitation, a third party, often a social worker, will be present whenever the child and non-custodial parent are together. In many cases, visitation rights after divorce will take place at the same time each week at the same public space. If a parent is given supervised visitation, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all future visitation rights after divorce will be supervised for the rest of the child’s childhood and adolescence; in some cases, non-custodial parents can graduate to non-supervised visits.
Visitation Rights After Divorce and Child Support
If you are having trouble paying your mandated child support, does that mean that you will lose your visitation rights after divorce? Another question that is often asked is whether a lack of visitation rights after divorce means that you can discontinue child support on your own.
The answer to both of these questions is no. Child support is mandatory, but it has nothing to do with child visitation. If you are not able to pay child support, you should contact the court to see if the order can be modified. At the same time, if your ex is not allowing you to have your court-ordered visitation, you should contact the court. Trying to solve these types of problems by going against an additional court order is not a legal way to handle the issue. Your legal resource center can help you find the solutions you need to solve both child support- and visitation-related problems that come up after your divorce.
Grandparents and Visitation
In some cases, a grandparent might be concerned that they will no longer have visitation with their grandchildren after a divorce. For example, if a mother gets custody of the children, the paternal grandparents might want to ask for guaranteed visitation rights after divorce. Whether or not this is allowed depends on the state that the children live in.
Some states, such as California, allow for mandated grandparent visitation in some cases, but not if the father and the mother are married to each other. In Florida, it’s difficult for grandparents to win a court order for visitation. Tennessee and South Carolina make it more difficult for grandparents to get visitation, while Maine and Kansas make it easier. If you are a grandparent who is seeking visitation rights after divorce with your grandchildren, a legal resource center might be able to help.
As with anything else pertaining to child custody, child visitation rights after divorce are made based on the best interest of the child. In nearly all cases, it’s best for children to have the opportunity to bond with and create a relationship with both parents. The visitation might be limited or even supervised, but it’s still a good opportunity for parents and children to spend time together, enjoy each other’s company, and begin to create a bond. If you are having trouble getting visitation with your children, please contact National Family Solutions for affordable help.