It is not unusual for a parent to be concerned about how a divorce might impact their children. Dealing with change can be difficult, but most parents have an opportunity to petition the court for a parenting plan that allows them to continue to foster their relationship with their child following the dissolution of marriage.
A seasoned family attorney could help draft a parenting plan that provides for reasonable visitation rights and meets the court’s considerations for a child’s best interests. Let a Piscataway visitation lawyer protect your relationship with your children. Call today to schedule a consultation with a trusted advocate.
How Does Visitation Differ From Custody?
Custody and visitation are not the same thing. There are two forms of custody: physical and legal. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions regarding their children’s upbringing, including medical treatment, where they go to school, and religious practices. Physical custody refers to where a child lives. When making this determination, the court can award either sole or shared physical and legal custody and will always consider what is in the child’s best interests.
Visitation, on the other hand, is a more limited form of custody. Also referred to as parenting time, visitation is typically given to the non-custodial parent when the court awards the other parent sole physical custody. While both parents have the right to see and spend time with their child in these circumstances, the parent with visitation rights may have specific conditions attached to their time.
A visitation schedule usually determines the dates, times, and locations of when the non-custodial parent spends time with the child, including weekends and holidays. In some situations, the judge may order visitation to be supervised. However, this is typically only the case if the parent poses a threat to the child’s well-being.
A trusted Piscataway attorney could help a parent review an existing visitation schedule to determine if any modifications are warranted or could help draft an initial schedule that prioritizes the child’s best interests and holds a strong chance of being approved by the court.
How Visitation Schedules Are Determined
The visitation arrangement two parents have regarding their child can vary. The preferred outcome in the eyes of the court is for co-parents to reach an agreement on a visitation schedule that allows a child to build a relationship with both parents. Whether the parents can reach an amicable agreement regarding a visitation schedule will depend largely on their relationship. In some situations, this is not an option.
When an agreement cannot be reached, the judge will determine what visitation—if any—is appropriate. When reaching this decision, the court is required to focus on the best interest of the child. This standard takes into account a large number of factors, including:
- The health needs of the child
- Any history of domestic abuse
- The suitability of each household
- How close the parents live to each other
- The ability of the parents to work together
- The relationship between the child and parents
A Piscataway attorney could put forth a visitation plan based on the argument that the plan is best suited to meet the child’s best interests. We could also work to negotiate a fair agreement with the other spouse or pursue litigation that leads to the best possible outcome.
Call a Piscataway Visitation Attorney Today
It is vital for you to protect your custody and visitation rights when you value building a strong relationship with your child following a divorce. The decision the court makes in these cases can have long-lasting consequences, making it crucial for you to seek legal counsel. Call to learn how a Piscataway visitation lawyer from our firm could help.