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What is child visitation?

Child visitation allows both parents to set up a schedule when they are allowed to spend time with their children. Equal time should be given to both parents. The places where visitation occurs may vary depending on the particular agreement that is in place and the specific situation.

Why is child visitation necessary?

Child visitation is important because it lets parents continue to regularly be a part of their children’s lives. Kids can bond with their parents and maintain relationships with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members. It’s important for children to know that their parents will continue to love and care for them, regardless of what happens during their divorce.

How are child visitation schedules determined?

Parents may work together to develop an effective child visitation schedule as a part of their marital settlement agreement. If they cannot agree on an arrangement, a judge will make those decisions for them. The best interests of the affected children will be the top priority in those instances.

What is supervised visitation?

Supervised visitation is a form of child visitation where a parent and child meet at a neutral site. The sessions are monitored by a staff member from that facility. The sessions are supervised so that appropriate interactions are held between the child and parent.

If a parent has been involved in inappropriate sexual contact with their child, supervised visitation may be recommended. Visitation can also be supervised if the parent in question has had difficulties in controlling anger, is working on being a better parent or has had a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Staff members may also be involved in monitored exchanges, where children are dropped off and moved from one parent to the other without direct contact between parents. This is usually done at a childcare center,    daycare facility or other neutral location.

Do I have to file for visitation?

You can file for visitation if you want. If there are no provisions for child visitation that currently exist in your marital settlement agreement. The court will evaluate each request carefully. Form CC-DR-5 is used to file for visitation rights.

Who can be granted visitation?

Biological parents are usually given child visitation rights. There have been certain instances in which grandparents have been granted visitation, usually in cases where one or both parents have been incarcerated, dealing with addiction issues or are otherwise mentally or physically unable to care for their children. As of this writing, there have not been any situations where a sister or brother has been given visitation privileges, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t happen in the future if the affected child’s best interests would favor that outcome.

Will the custodial parent be preferred when child visitation schedules are set?

Child visitation schedules should be arranged so that each parent has equal time with their children. They may need to work out what happens during school breaks, vacations, and holidays. Courts will not allow one parent to spend significantly more time with their child than the other, even if that parent agrees to such an arrangement.

What happens if a child visitation appointment is missed?

If the non-custodial parent misses a child visitation appointment for any reason, they should contact the other parent as soon as possible. They may also contact their lawyer or the court to explain what happened. There may be some circumstances (such as unexpected overtime or inclement weather) that may be unavoidable.

Can I reschedule a child visitation appointment if necessary?

Parents can petition the court to revise the child visitation schedule from time to time. They may need to reschedule certain appointments because of medical issues, a death in the family, the loss of a job or other reasons. They should work to ensure that each partner has equal time with their child.

Can I refuse child visitation?

Custodial parents cannot refuse child visitation by the other parent. This is true, even if the non-custodial parent has not made their child support payments, has refused to pay child support or has skipped other child visitation appointments in the past. The judge who presided over the divorce proceedings may make changes to the visitation agreement if necessary. They may find the person who denied child visitation to be in contempt. The parent who was refused child visitation may file a motion to modify the current order or file an action for contempt if they so choose.

Can visitation be denied?

There may be instances in which visitation could be denied because the child may be in an unsafe situation. If the parent was found guilty to have committed first or second-degree murder of the other parent, visitation rights may be terminated.

What happens if I don’t attend a required child visitation session?

The court could order that the visitation session that was missed be rescheduled. They could also change the current visitation order so that no more sessions will be missed in the future. A judge could even levy court fees or fines against the person who violated the existing child visitation agreement.

How long do I have to attend child visitation sessions?

Each parent will be required to continue child visitation until the current agreement expires or the affected child becomes an adult. Children who turn 18 years old are recognized as legal adults in the state of Maryland. Visitation can also end if the child refuses visitation or if one or both parents remarry.

Can a child refuse visitation?

Children are allowed to refuse visitation if they want once they turn 16. They can choose to stop visitation or continue with those sessions if they see fit. They are usually expected to inform the court of their decision if they opt to refuse visitation for any reason.

Child visitation can be complicated. It will take some time for parents and children to get used to. Visitation schedules may mean rearranging schedules so that children can have equal time with their parents and there may be some last-minute modifications from time to time.

If you have questions about child visitation, give us a call. You can set up a free consultation with one of our veteran staff members. We’ll take the time to listen to your concerns and provide important advice as to future actions. Our lawyers can also represent you during the divorce proceedings if you wish.

Divorce will disrupt families. Partners need to adjust to living in separate residences quickly. They may miss their children, but establishing a solid child visitation schedule and making sure that their children understand that their parents will never stop loving or caring for them can make a difficult ordeal a little more bearable.