This blog has discussed what to do when a visitation dispute arises, but what can you expect from visitation on a regular basis? Visitation is not the same as joint custody. While there may be visitation in a joint custody situation when one parent has sole physical custody, visitation is frequently awarded when one parent has both physical and legal custody of the children. The court believes that it is in the children’s best interest for the other parent to see them regularly. If you find yourself in a situation where you or your ex-spouse has visitation rights, find out more from a Family Law Practice Overview about what these rights involve.
Do I Get to Decide When and Where I Meet the Children?
Usually the custodial parent has the power to decide the time and place of the non-custodial parent’s visit with the children. However, since it tends to be the source of many ugly disputes, sometimes resulting in the non-custodial parent getting little contact with the children, courts prefer that you and your ex-spouse create a parenting plan ahead of time that outlines visitation rights. If this does not succeed, the parent being denied visitation can petition the court, which may then order mandatory visitation rights.
Do I Still Get to Make Decisions About My Children’s Upbringing?
If you are a non-custodial parent with visitation rights, you do not have the legal authority to make decisions about your children concerning issues such as school, religion, medicine. However, a good relationship with your ex-spouse might allow you to give feedback about the children’s needs and have it be factored in. If you are a parent with legal, but not physical, custody, you have the legal authority to make decisions about your children. More courts are moving away from granting sole legal and physical custody to one parent, allowing more cases in which both parents have the legal authority to make decisions about the children.
If My Ex-Spouse Does Not Appear to be Treating the Children Well, Can I Petition to Modify the Custody Arrangement?
Yes, you can petition the court for a modified custody arrangement. Be prepared to provided documented evidence of your ex-spouse’s lack of care. Also, you may have a more difficult time establishing that you deserve custody if you deliberately left the family, leaving your children with the other parent.
What if My Ex-Spouse Wants to Move?
California courts will allow the spouse to move if he or she has a good reason. However, they might deny it if the move would be too detrimental to the child, or the custodial parent was moving just to deny the other parent visitation rights.
Is There a Possibility That I Could Lose My Visitation Rights?
Yes, unfortunately. One way is if it is discovered that you have physically or emotionally abused the children. Another is if you abused alcohol or drugs. You could also lose visitation rights if you have threatened to abduct your children. However, the court might not revoke your visitation rights immediately: instead, it might restrict them by requiring your visits to be supervised. That involves either a third person being present or the visit taking place at a public location.
On the other hand, you will not lose your visitation rights if you fall behind in child support payments.
Family Law Practice Overview is located in Santa Rosa and offers an entire scope of divorce services to clients in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, Kelseyville and throughout Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake County.
Beck Law P.C. offers a no cost, no obligation initial consultation and can furnish the experience and knowledge to help guide you as you come to the decision to divorce or not divorce.
Making an appointment to meet with us is not a decision to file for divorce. It is merely an investment in exploring what options may or may not apply to your particular situation. Your visit to the Beck Law Offices is confidential, as is the information discussed. You can contact our office at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.