Custody and visitation rights are among the most important matters that need to be resolved when a divorce involves children. If joint custody has been agreed, any minor children (typically defined as aged under 18) will spend an equal amount of time living with each parent. With sole custody, the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights only. Such an agreement may also apply in the case of non-married parents who are separating.
Can Visitation Rights be Denied?
The courts can deny visitation rights if it is decided they are not in the interests of a child. Reasons for denying visitation to a non-custodial parent include a history of child neglect, abuse or endangerment, drug or alcohol problems, and a criminal record. Once the issue of custody has been settled, the court expects both parents to help each other in ensuring the agreement runs smoothly. If this breaks down and one parent, for example, prevents visitation or tries to turn the child against the other, known as parental alienation, the other parent can go back to court to request a new agreement. Failure of the non-custodial parent to follow an agreed schedule for visitation is also taken very seriously, and can lead to a charge of contempt of court and possible penalties.
How to Create Custodial & Visitation Agreements
The Cantor Law Group will help you craft custodial and visitation agreements following a divorce. One of our family lawyers can answer all your questions, and help prepare a visitation schedule with your former partner. If visitation problems and parental alienation do subsequently take place, we can represent you to help find a solution, first through mediation and, if necessary, through legal action. Maintaining a close relationship with your children is crucial, and we will act on your behalf in the Arizona courts to preserve it.
A properly functioning visitation schedule enables the non-custodial parent to maintain strong bonds with their children following a divorce. The agreed schedule forms part of the divorce settlement granted by the court. It is therefore the responsibility of both parents to follow the agreement unless the court makes changes at a later date following action taken by either parent.
If you are going through a divorce or you are a parent seeking visitation rights, please call us at (602) 691-6385 or email us to arrange a free consultation, and discuss how a Phoenix family lawyer can help you.