Child Visitation: Understanding the Basics and Your Rights

By Henry F. Lewis on February 16, 2018

Playing house with a childChild visitation refers to legal arrangements by which a parent is allowed time with their children following divorce or separation. In such cases, a parent who spends less than half of the time with the child is entitled to visitation so long as it is in the best interests of the child.

Child visitation can be hotly contested after a divorce. Our Oakland, CA family law attorneys know how heated these disputes can get. Let’s take a moment to consider some of the basics regarding child visitation and how we can help you should disputes arise regarding your visitation rights.

Custody vs. Visitation: What Is the Difference?

Many people wonder how chid custody and child visitation differ.

Child custody refers to who gets to make legal and living decisions on the child’s behalf, and who the child gets to live with most of the time. When couples work out legal and physical custody of their children, they share responsibilities raising their children and making choices that impact their lives.

Child visitation refers to time spent with the children per se and how that time is shared between parents.

Child Visitation by Set Schedule

Child visitation may be set up on a schedule. This helps parents work out any conflicts and helps courts arrange for children to be with one parent on certain dates. Schedules may be structures around vacations, trips, holidays, weekends, and so forth.

Reasonable Child Visitation

If there is no set schedule created by the court, reasonable child visitation may be set up. This is done only when couples get along well after divorce/separation and can work out visitation among themselves. If conflicts arise, that’s when a court may step in and help set up a visitation schedule.

Supervised Child Visitation

Supervised child visitation refers to visitation that is overseen by another adult or a professional agency. In these cases, the child’s well-being may be considered at risk when visiting the other parent; the child may also be unfamiliar with one of the parents, and supervised visitation helps get parent and child better acquainted without stress or anxiety.

Ultimately, the supervision of child visitation in these cases helps ensure that the child is completely fine while visiting with the parent.

Remote/Virtual Child Visitation

With Skype, FaceTime, and other video chat and conferencing programs now available, parents can check in with their children using video. This kind of visitation may be used as a substitute when a parent is not available. As this is new territory in terms of visitation and what is considered a visit, legal disputes over the use of technology may arise.

Denial/Loss of Visitation Rights

In general, a person is denied or loses their visitation rights if they pose a danger to a child in some way. In extreme cases, there may be evidence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by one of the parents. There may also be other issues involving endangerment of a child, such as poor living conditions.

As we noted above, the best interests of a child are kept in mind by courts at all times. When a child is endangered, the court can step in and deny the harmful parent access to their child.

Learn More About Child Visitation Laws

For more information about child visitation rights and how they may apply to you and your kids, be sure to contact the lawyers of Gardner & Lewis, LLP. We will help you in your time of legal need, and make sure your children’s best interests are always kept in mind.

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Oakland Office

1939 Harrison St
Ste 210
Oakland, CA 94612

More Info Directions (510) 451-4822