Understanding Child Visitation Rights
The section of the court order that details the conditions, associated with the contact between the non-custodial parent and the child, is referred to as the child visitation rights. Child visitation rights if focused on correctly by an experienced Family Law attorney, could be arranged to make both parties satisfied. Visitation is restricted by the legal custody that is vested in the other parent. The visitation does not allow you to conflict, with the policies and decisions of the parent that has legal custody of the child or children.
Supervised visitation is even upheld where there are cases of abuse. In supervised visitation, the parent can only visit the child when another person is present. This person could be a friend or relative, that both parents have agreed will be accepted as a chaperon. There are usually specific locations and times decided on for supervised visitation.
Who can be awarded visitation?
A biological parent can obviously be awarded visitation, but in Georgia grandparents can be awarded visitation rights even if the parents were not married or are now divorced. Step-parents can also be awarded visitation rights. Although there have been no documented cases where brothers or sisters are granted visitation, in the best interest of the child, a strong argument could be made in this regard.
When can visitation be denied?
The power to deny visitation lies in the hands of the court, but usually visitation is stopped only for a specific period or time, or until a particular task is performed. If you have been granted visitation and your spouse denies you, then you should firstly file a modification of the visitation including a definite schedule. Afterwards you can file a contempt action. It is the belief of many parents that they have the right to determine if they pay child support or not, but this is wrong. You could get into trouble and may be arrested for withholding child support.
In Georgia as in many other states, grandparents are allowed to request visitation rights with their grandchildren. They may file for custody on their own, through an original court action, seeking visitation for their grandchild. Matthew C. Hines is a Family Law attorney, who offers representation for grandparents. Legally they have this right under the laws in Georgia, but there are some restrictions. They may not file for visitation rights if the child resides with both parents, and the parents have not separated. Additionally, they are only able to file an original court action every two years for visitation.
A grandparent can also join an existing legal action to file for visitation, and these include:
If there is any action that relates to the custody of visitation involving the minor grandchild. This could include divorce between the parent of the child.
A Court action to terminate parental rights.
Once the grandparent files the court action for visitation rights, a “guardian ad litem” who is a independent advocate and spokesperson, may be appointed by the court. This person acts on behalf of the child and will send the parties to mediation if the grandparent has been determined as being able to bear the cost. If they cannot bear the cost, or there is no need for mediation, then the court will decide the request for visitation in a hearing.
The MINIMUM visitation that can be awarded to a Grandparent in Georgia, is 24 hours per month. In some instances grandparents are awarded an entire weekend per month or even more. It is not advisable for you to not have attorney representation during the process of the visitation petition. Contact the offices of Family Law attorney Matthew C. Hines today, to commence your visitation court action.