What are the courts looking for in addressing custody and visitation rights? The goal for any court in custody and visitation decisions is what is ultimately best for the child(ren) involved. A child is entitled to a relationship with both parents unless it is documented that a parent is unfit and/or would be an endangerment in any way.
Although both parent’s are entitled to equal custody and visitation, below is a list of some circumstances that might affect the equality of those rights:
- Special needs of a child or extenuating circumstances
- Any special nursing needs if the child is less than 1 yr. of age
- Protection of a child from any form of child abuse
- The impact of unusual traveling time that would be required for parenting
- Is the parent able to exercise any court ordered parenting time?
- Has a parent consistently failed to exercise their legal parenting rights?
- Any threat or attempt at ‘kidnapping’ or refusal to disclose child’s whereabouts. Domestic violence shelters are exempt from such situations.
- Specific terms of parenting time can be granted at any time by request of either parent
Conditions of and terms of any court ordered ‘shared parenting time’ can include any and all of the following:
- Responsibility involved in time of transporting child as well as cost of transportation
- Court ordered specific pick-up/drop-off times or specific readiness of child times
- Third parties may be restricted by court orders during designated parenting times.
- At times, bonds might be required to assure compliance with court orders
- Advance notice given, when possible, when failing to comply with parenting time
- Any other reasonable conditions imposed by the court system
Your children need you! There is nothing else that you could possibly do with your time that would be more valuable than spending it with them. Contact aboutthechildren.org for more information.