Visitation Rights Protect You and Your Child's Best Interests
During a divorce or other custody arrangement, a parenting plan is drafted to specify how the parents will spend time with their children. If your child lives with you less than half the time, the time you spend with your child is considered visitation. Visitation rights vary based on numerous factors, such as the best interests of the child and the situation of the parents. At Saunders Law Group in Lakeland and Bartow, FL, our team can help you at every stage of the visitation process. Our attorneys, Thomas C. Saunders and K.C. Bouchillon, can assist you as you draw up a parenting plan or modify an existing visitation order to better suit your needs. Contact our office online or call us at (863) 533-6200 to schedule an initial case consultation and learn more about the custody services we offer.
Factors that Influence Visitation
In all cases of custody and visitation, the courts make their decision based on the best interest of the child, meaning orders are determined by assessing how the situation will affect the child’s emotional, physical, and developmental welfare. To determine what is in your child’s best interest, the court will likely consider:
- The age of the child
- The child’s ties to home, school, or their community
- The health of the child
- The emotional connection between each parent and the child
- The parental ability to care for the child
- Any history of violence or substance abuse
There are certain factors that cannot legally influence visitation or custody. You cannot be denied your visitation rights because you were never married to the other parent. Additionally, the fact that you have a different lifestyle, religious belief, sexual orientation, or physical disability should not affect the court’s decision. One way to ensure you are treated fairly by the court while determining visitation is to hire a family law attorney who can advocate for you and protect your best interests as well as those of your child.
Our team will work tirelessly to ensure that your relationship with your family is protected.
Types of Visitation Orders
When creating a visitation order, the court’s assessment of your child’s best interests can lead to one of four types of visitation:
- Fixed: When a visitation is fixed, it is determined by a detailed schedule. This type of order is typically chosen when parents are still in conflict and the court believes the couple is unable to create a fair visitation agreement.
- Reasonable: If a judge orders reasonable visitation, the parents are tasked with agreeing on a visitation schedule on their own. Reasonable visitation only functions if parents are able to communicate well and are willing to be flexible.
- Supervised: When there is suspicion that the child’s well-being and safety are a concern, the court may order all visitation be supervised. This supervision can be performed by a family member or a court-appointed official.
- None: If the court has reason to believe that visiting with a parent would be physically or emotionally harmful to the child, they may choose not to grant any visitation rights to that parent.
Keep in mind that even if you and your co-parent agree upon a reasonable visitation schedule, the agreement is not enforceable until it becomes a court order. It is important to discuss your visitation agreement with a qualified custody attorney to ensure you follow the steps required to protect the best interest of both you and your child.
Hire an Advocate
At Saunders Law Group, we understand how difficult and emotional cases involving parental rights can be. Our team will work tirelessly to ensure that your relationship with your family is protected. Divorce and custody arrangements can be a life-changing experience. Find the support you need by contacting our team online or calling (863) 533-6200 to arrange your initial case consultation today.
You can trust your family, business, or personal injury case to our compassionate but objective attorneys.Saunders Law Group