As a divorced parent, you may find co-parenting and visitation rights to be one of the hardest challenges you will face post-divorce.
In the best of cases, an agreement on a cohesive parenting plan allows both parents to work together to raise children in a healthy and loving manner. Unfortunately, not every scenario works out so easily, and the child’s welfare is the Family Law Court’s primary concern with all custody and visitation matters.
Parents and relatives may be denied visitation rights for the following reasons:
Child Visitation Rights And Abusive Or Destructive Ex-Spouse
When there is evidence that a parent has a history of abusive or destructive behavior, especially toward the child, the Family Law court often requires supervised visitation between that parent and the child or children. This means that an adult (other than former spouse) must be present at all times during the visit. The supervising adult may be known or unknown to the child, may be someone agreed on by the parents or an individual appointed by the court. Regardless of how the supervising adult is chosen, he or she must be approved by the State of Florida Family Law court ordering that supervised visitation.
In addition to a history of abusive or destructive behavior, the following lists additional circumstances in which visitation or co-parenting may be restricted or denied:
- Mental illness. A history of mental problems does not deprive a parent of visitation rights. But visitation may be restricted by the Courts
- Substance abuse. A parent who abuses drugs or alcohol may be denied visitation
- Incarceration. Visitation rights may be suspended if it’s shown jail visits are emotionally stressful to the child
- Child’s wishes. Courts may consider the child’s wishes, dependent on the child’s age and maturity
Child Visitation (or Timesharing) Rights And Grandparents
There is a list of factors, in Florida law, which a Family Law Judge uses to consider frequency and length of time-sharing in the case involving minor children. The outcome of each case can vary, depending on the Judge’s discretion and factors of each case. The law states the court must respect the parent-child relationship as the primary relationship, and in most cases should trust the parent’s judgment in making sound decisions for the child.
Child Visitation (or Timesharing) Rights And Step-Parents
A handful of states, and Florida is one of them, do not recognize any visitation rights for step-parents. In these cases, step-parents seeking to maintain or reestablish visitation with a child or children have no legal course of action available to them.
How To Modify Visitation Rights
If the current timesharing rights are no longer a workable arrangement for one or either parent, the parent should seek a modification of timesharing rights through the Family Court System. This means starting a legal process and you should communicate openly about possible changes to the timesharing schedule with the other parent.
Once your modification of timesharing case is in front of the judge, you must present a compelling set of circumstances for review by the Family Court Judge. It is best to consult an attorney with relevant experience, knowledge of local laws and familiarity with visitation factors to make sure your case moves forward in a timely manner.
Your first step in trying to attain timesharing rights should always be to contact a trusted attorney who has extensive experience in visitation cases and other family law matters. Please use our contact form to get in touch with questions on child timesharing matters – We’re here to help you with your Family Law concerns.