As a parent, you want to give your child a solid foundation of love and support. No matter how separated a family becomes, both parents should remain involved in their child’s life.
You can achieve this continued connection through visitation rights.
This article provides a broad overview of visitation rights, how they help preserve a bond with your kids, and how you can make sure your visitation rights are protected.
Defining Visitation Rights
Visitation rights refer to the legal arrangement allowing non-custodial parents to regularly visit their child. In some instances, grandparents, stepparents, or other close relatives can also gain visitation.
Visitation is a standard part of any divorce or custody agreement, and it becomes part of the official parenting plan. The plan specifies the frequency, duration, and location of visits.
A visitation agreement typically depends on:
- The child’s age
- The bond between parent and child
- The non-custodial parent’s proximity to the child
- Any concerns related to the safety or welfare of the child
Courts can order supervised visitation when they believe a parent is unfit. In these scenarios, a social worker (or some other court-appointed person) must be present during the visits.
Defining visitation rights is a necessary process that requires careful consideration and negotiation. The outcome of your agreement can greatly impact a child’s well-being and development.
Child visitation is court-ordered, and it cannot be ignored. If one parent does not follow through on visits, they can suffer legal consequences. Alternatively, if a custodial parent tries to block or disrupt visitation, they can face penalties as well.
Visitation can be in-person or virtual. Your parenting plan can include regularly scheduled phone calls, video chats, and so on. Virtual visits are just as legally valid as in-person ones, and they are subject to the same legal standards.
How Does Visitation Benefit Children?
Studies suggest that children prosper from regular contact with their non-custodial parents. They tend to have better overall emotional health and fewer behavioral problems. Visitation allows children to maintain a connection with both parents, which is essential for their development.
When parents work together to arrange consistent and reliable visits, children generally feel more secure and stable.
Additionally, visitation allows children to maintain supportive relationships with extended family members, which is also a source of comfort and strength.
Ultimately, when parents prioritize their child's well-being through visitation, they are helping to create a strong foundation for their child's future success.
The Benefits of Visitation for Other Family Members
Child visitation guarantees family members the right to see and maintain contact with their loved ones. This helps parents stay involved when they cannot have full or joint custody.
Continued contact with the children is also good for extended family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so on. It allows them to stay connected to the child through the visiting parents.
The Different Types of Child Visitation Rights in Texas
The state has three types of child visitation:
Virtual visitation, or electronic communication, allows the non-custodial parent to stay in touch with the child via video chat, phone calls, email, text, etc.
Standard visitation allows the non-custodial parent to possess the child on certain weekends, holidays, vacations, etc.
Courts order supervised visitation when there are concerns about the child's safety or well-being in the non-custodial parent's care.
The Impact of Not Having Child Visitation Rights
A lack of child visitation rights can significantly impact both the parent and child.
Lack of regular contact also makes it difficult to maintain a strong parental bond with their child. Parents can feel like they’ve lost connection to their child, leading to loneliness or depression.
For the child, having irregular contact with one parent can affect their emotional well-being and self-esteem. They may feel abandoned, questioning why the other parent “doesn’t want to see them.”
In some cases, the child may develop behavioral or academic issues due to the separation. It is crucial to recognize child visitation rights’ impact and create a visitation schedule that helps children thrive.
Ensuring Fair Allocation of Visitation Time in a Divorce Agreement
When working a fair parenting plan, consider factors such as:
- Work schedules
- School activities
- Distance between parents' residences
The agreement should also reflect the children's preferences, provided they are mature enough to express them.
Ultimately, you should work toward a visitation arrangement that promotes healthy relationships between children and parents. It should promote stability and minimize disruption to the children's routine. Your primary focus is the child’s emotional well-being.
Avoiding Problems with Child Visitation Schedules
One of the most common issues is a lack of communication between the parents. If you do not establish a clear method and schedule, you can have misunderstandings and disagreements later. Make sure you know when and how you will communicate, be it through phone, text, email, or whatever method works best.
Another common problem is when one parent moves away, making it difficult to establish a regular visitation schedule. To avoid this problem, create a new plan that is clearly defined. It should outline visitation schedules, transportation arrangements, responsibility for travel expenses, and communication methods between parents.
Both parents should sign a parenting plan and submit it to the courts. Doing so ensures there is clear communication and understanding about visitation rights. By working collaboratively to establish regular visits, parents can create a safe and stable environment for their child.
Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress is here to help parents manage a reasonable parenting plan during a divorce. If you need help, you can contact our team online or call us at (817) 497-8148.