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The basic facts of visitation rights

After a divorce or a separation, if you are a parent, you will likely have questions related to seeing your children. You will need to decide with your co-parent whether you will share custody or whether one of you will have sole custody of the children, leaving the other parent to visit. If you aren't able to independently make an agreement with your co-parent, then you may need to go through the courts for a resolution.

When you are going through this process, it can be a huge help to be familiar with your state's custody laws. When you are attempting to secure time with your children, you will likely have some questions. Luckily, for most people, the questions are common ones that other families who have undergone similar circumstances have likely handled before.

Reasonable visitation

Reasonable visitation is best suited for parents who can communicate in a civil manner and who do not want to deny time with the child out of anger or spite. This type of visitation means that the custodial parent will decide what times are reasonable for the other parent to visit with the child, at their discretion. If this type of schedule is unlikely to work for you, you can ask a judge to set a fixed visitation schedule instead.

Fixed visitation

When a judge orders specific times and places for the parents to visit with the children, this is known as fixed visitation. It is sometimes used when the parents can't get along, but also may be a good tool to add stability to the life of a child when there is turmoil otherwise. A set schedule of visiting every other weekend is an example of this type of visitation.

Grandparent's visitation

In most states, grandparents have a reasonable right to see their grandchildren. If the parents of the child wish to deny rights to the grandparents, they should have a clear reason for doing so, and be prepared to defend that reason in court. A common visitation agreement with grandparents is a few afternoons a month, for a few hours each.

Concerns about safety

If your ex-spouse was abusive toward you or the children, or if you have concerns about the grandparent's ability to care for the child due to a disability that may put the child in danger, you may request supervised visits. During supervised visitation, you or someone else that the court appoints will be with the other party while they visit with the kids.

For more help

A short article can only begin to give all the details of child custody rules, so you may have more questions. You can continue to research the topic, or reach out to another person for help. Many individuals choose to use a family law attorney as a guide through difficult custody negotiations.

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Joseph Brophy Cordell, Attorney at Law
115 1/2 West King Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: 304-707-0673
Fax: 304-263-3378
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