When parents divorce, child custody should be high on the list of concerns. The family courts take the health and well-being of minor-aged children very seriously and there are numerous legal provisions and orders included in the divorce that serve to protect the child. With child custody arrangements come visitation arrangements, so read on to learn more.
In most cases, child custody and visitation arrangements now come under the heading of parenting plans. While there are several new and innovative methods of dealing with these issues, such as bird nesting plans, traditional solutions persist. Commonly, one parent is awarded primary physical custody of the child and the other parent is awarded visitation. Visitation is not a requirement only on rare occasions where neglect, criminal activity, substance abuse, or incarceration is present. Visitation plans are not casual affairs. The plan you and your spouse agree upon (or the judge orders) is converted into an order and must be followed. In some cases, child visitation arrangements can produce problems.
When You Encounter Problems With Visitation
Most people want to do the right thing and what is best for their children, but some divorces are such bitter and angry events that vengeful attitudes influence issues like visitation. Custodial parents can negatively affect child visitation by some of the following:
1. Speaking negatively of the non-custodial parent.
2. Refusing to pass along important information about the child to the non-custodial parent.
3. Refusing to promote the other parent's participation in the child's life. For example, the custodial parent may neglect to inform the other parent about sporting events, school plays, etc.
4. Deliberately interfering with visitation by scheduling medical or other events during the other parent's visitation time.
The Responsibility of the Custodial Parent
The courts often make custody decisions based, in part, on the willingness of the parent to allow the other parent to maintain a healthy relationship with the child. This principle is in the best interest of the child and if you can show that the custodial parent is not doing so the following could occur:
1. Hearings and mediation encouraging the parents to abide by the parenting plan.
2. Make-up dates for missed visitation.
3. Modification of visitation arrangements, including an increase in time for the non-custodial parent.
4. In cases of extreme circumstances, the courts could modify the custody agreement entirely and order the non-custodial parent to exchange roles with the custodial parent.
There are many different ways to address problems with visitation, so you should speak to a family law attorney before taking the plunge and getting a divorce, especially if you want your children to come out of the experience with as little pain as possible..
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