Visitation Rights: How the Decision is Made

Visitation Rights: How the Decision is Made The laws regarding child visitation dictate how a non-custodial parent interacts with a child. Child visitation rights are a matter of state law. Orders for support are handled by the local family court that hears the divorce. The basic point of visitation rights is to allow the child to spend a specific amount of time with a parent he or she does not live with. Therefore, it is a very important part of child custody hearings. Learn more about the process and why it is a good idea to work with a custody attorney.

When Difficulties Arise

It is unfortunate that child custody matters are often quite complex. This area of a divorce or custody hearings tend to be ripe with disputes. Generally, the problems arise when one of the parents doesn't agree with the proposed visitation plan. The reasons behind this can vary widely. Yet, regardless of the reasons, it is best to try and solve the conflict in an amicable manner. The court's interest in setting a certain schedule is to maintain consistency in the life of the child. In essence, there is no reason a child should suffer just because the parents are unable to get along. This it what drives the court's decision when issuing an order.

The Standard in Visitation Cases

In a visitation case, the interests of the child supersede those of either parent. This is the general standard used by almost every court in the nation. What it focuses on is the emotional, physical and developmental well-being of the child. Some courts use a list of factors to examine this issue. In Utah, the family courts look to Utah Code Section 30-3-35. This section explicitly lists some of the factors that can be considered in a decision regarding visitation. These factors include:
  • The physical, emotional and educational needs of the child.
  • The medical needs of the child.
  • The ability of each parent to care for the minor.
  • The nature of the relationship with the child.
There are several other things that can be considered as well. For example, the court can also use past abuse or neglect of the child to reduce or deny visitation rights. Thus, if there is a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, it is important to retain a custody lawyer for help.

The Creation of Rights

How one goes about establishing visitation depends on the family's situation. If the couple is going through a divorce, visitation will likely be handled as part of the overall procedure. This process begins with the filing of a motion by one of the parents. These matters are most easily resolved by entering into a stipulation with the other party. If the parties are not involved in a family law matter, it is a little more complicated. It will be necessary to file a petition to begin the process. If the petitioner is the father, he may also have to submit to a paternity test before the case can proceed. In the end, any given jurisdiction may have different requirements. Reach out to a custody attorney for reliable information about the law in your area. In Utah, those involved in child custody cases can contact Spencer & Jensen PLLC. The law regarding visitation rights can be complicated. Contact us today.

Tags: grandparent custody, child visitation

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