Parental Visitation Rights

Child custody matters are never easy, and visitation is usually a primary concern of couples going through a divorce. As a principal matter, it’s critical to know your state’s child custody laws and discover answers to your questions concerning legal custody and visitation questions. Below you are going to discover some of the more frequently asked questions concerning parental visitation rights following a separation or divorce.

The judge stated, “reasonable visitation,” what is that?

When the judge presiding your separation or divorce has established that either you or your ex was permitted “reasonable visitation” devoid of setting out a visitation schedule, this typically means that it is up to the parents of the child to devise with a plan of parental visiting time. When the parents can still cooperate, this is usually preferred over other ways of establishing visitation schedules since it allows the parents to work around their individual schedules.

In fact, nevertheless, the parent with custodial rights will usually have more authority and influence over what is deemed “reasonable visitation” in terms of times and length. Both the custodial and non-custodial parent have a commitment to act ethically and negotiate reasonable visitation due to the fact of how important it is for the welfare of the child to have as constructive a relationship as possible with each of their parents.

For a reasonable visitation plan to function, parents need to be willing to communicate with each other in a sensible, rational manner. When you know or believe that you and your ex are not going to be able to cooperate with a reasonable visitation schedule, you should let the judge know so and stand firm on a fixed visitation schedule instead. Additionally, if you and your ex are presently under a sensible visitation plan that isn’t working, you might go back to court and petition for a different arrangement associated with parental visitation rights. Don’t forget that “virtual visitation,” like face timing, is optional in some states.

I have been placed on a “fixed visitation” schedule by the judge, what is that?

Typically, a fixed visitation schedule is one in which the judge orders times (and occasionally places) whereas the non-custodial parent shall have parental visitation. Such as a non-custodial parent with visitation rights on Tuesday and Friday nights, or just on holiday weekends.

Additionally, many courts are more prone to issue fixed visitation schedules due to the fact that it offers some stability that children can rely on in a generally distressing and confusing time in their lives.

My ex was frequently physically abusive to both me and our children. Despite that abuse, they still received visitation rights. How can I hinder abuse throughout child visitation times?

If your ex-spouse has a history of being abusive, especially towards your child, you can bring this to the court’s attention during the determination of parental visitation rights. Generally, if the court finds that the non-custodial parent poses a risk of harming or abusing the child during visits, they may order supervised visitation.

This means that every visit the non-custodial parent has with the child must be under the supervision of another adult appointed by the court. This supervisor is responsible for ensuring the child’s safety and preventing any abuse. The choice of this individual may be agreed upon by the child’s parents or designated by the court. However, all supervisors must be approved by the court before taking on their roles.

Do my children’s grandparents have visitation rights?

Every state in the country has a law allowing some form of grandparental visitation. These laws permit grandparents, and sometimes others like step-parents or foster parents, to request court-awarded rights to maintain their relationship with the child(ren). However, the specifics vary, and each law has unique requirements for grandparents seeking this legal right. Courts generally prioritize a parent’s decision regarding grandparent visitation.

In fewer than half of the states, laws on grandparent visitation are restrictive. In these states, grandparents may only obtain visitation rights under specific circumstances, such as if one of the parents has passed away.

The remaining states typically have more permissive laws, allowing grandparent visitation even when all parents are alive. Nonetheless, the primary consideration in most cases is the well-being of the child.

What if a non-custodial parent makes no attempt to exercise their designated parenting time with their minor children?

Some custodial parents may seek changes to a visitation order if the non-custodial parent doesn’t use their scheduled parenting time. Despite seeming reasonable, many attorneys oppose this. Reducing time as punishment may not benefit the children.

Usually, when a non-custodial parent misses parenting time, the goal should be their reintegration for maximum involvement in the child’s life. Children might feel emotionally stressed, perceiving themselves as unwanted or unloved.

However, states vary in addressing this. In Tennessee, for example, a court may deviate from guideline support due to a non-custodial parent’s failure to exercise parenting time. Not all states follow this, and some courts argue that compelling a parent’s involvement through higher child support is inappropriate.

How can I restrict the visitation time the grandparents are going to have with my children?

If you attempt to limit your child’s grandparents’ visitation, they may take legal action to enforce their rights. If you have valid reasons (like abuse) supporting your decision, present evidence in court.

Avoid going to court due to personal arrogance or invalid reasons against the child’s best interests, as it may lead to wasted time and money, with grandparents likely gaining visitation rights.

If you decide to go to court, arrive with a well-planned visitation schedule. This not only allows you a say in establishing rights but also enhances your standing in the court’s view.

Typically, grandparents may be granted visitation a couple of evenings a month, for a few hours. This duration allows for a meal and an activity. If grandparents are less involved, you can request court approval for supervision during visits.

Considering hiring a mediator when pursuing court action for grandparent visitation rights can be worthwhile. A mediator can help establish a visitation schedule that benefits everyone involved.

Being a grandparent that has visitation rights to my grandchildren, what do I do if the child’s parent wishes to restrict my visits?

When a child’s parent obstructs a grandparent’s visitation rights, initiating mediation is often the first step. In some states, courts require mediation before hearing a grandparent’s case. Contact your local or state bar association for mediator recommendations.

If mediation fails, you may end up in court fighting for visitation rights. Be ready to present evidence showcasing your strong grandchild relationship. Prove that limited visitation is harmful, contrary to the child’s best interests. The judge may inquire about your health and past legal issues.

The crucial consideration for the judge is the child’s best interests. Address any concerns, like smoking, by pledging not to do so in the child’s presence. If you have a disability, be prepared to show readiness for supervised visits to ensure the child’s safety.

Discover More Concerning Parental Visitation Rights from an Attorney

As a parent, your child’s best interests are paramount, especially after a divorce or separation. To understand and secure your legal right to visit your child, it’s crucial to grasp the laws of your state. The best approach is to consult with a local child custody lawyer today.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2021, November 12). visitation rights FAQ. Findlaw. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from

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