Mothers and fathers both have an equal legal right to raise their children. However, in the event that parents decide to get a divorce or are non-married people who do not live together and cannot agree on a suitable custody arrangement, then a family court must make a custody and visitation plan for the care of children.
Any time that a parent does not have custody of their children, the court may issue a visitation plan which allows that parent to spend at least some time with their kids on a regular basis. It is only in rare instances that a court would order restrictions on these plans or deny visitation altogether.
A Cobb County visitation lawyer could help you understand the legal processes behind the creation of visitation orders. Once retained, a qualified attorney could also help you take steps to request a modification in court if you feel that a current visitation plan is inappropriate.
Any separation of parents who have a shared child must include a custody plan for the raising of that child. If that custody plan awards custody to only one parent, the non-custodial parent would typically receive visitation rights, also known as parenting time. This is a set schedule establishing when and where the non-custodial parent can interact with their child.
The most common form of visitation plan includes unsupervised visits, allowing the parent to take the child from the custodial parent and act as their guardian for a set period of time. There are few restrictions concerning what the parent and child may do under such circumstances, as long as the child is not in danger and returns to the other parent at the appointed time.
The other form of parenting time is supervised visits. Here, the parent-child interaction must be done in the presence of a neutral third party, who could be another family member or a social worker. These forms of visitation are rare and usually only apply if the non-custodial parent has a history of family violence, substance abuse, or other extreme circumstances where the safety of the child may be impacted during the visitation. A Cobb County visitation attorney could help a parent understand the options available to them concerning visitation rights.
Every parent has the right to be involved in the lives of their children. However, courts maintain the obligation to act in the best interest of the child in all visitation rights cases.
According to Official Code of Georgia §19-9-3(a)(3), a court should consider a variety of factors in determining what is best for the child. These include but are not limited to:
As mentioned above, the default position for courts is to create an unsupervised visitation plan. However, if the court does decide that a supervised visitation plan is in the best interests of a child, all parents are required to follow those terms.
This does not mean, however, that such a plan is necessarily permanent. O.C.G.A. §19-9-3(b) allows either parent in a parenting time plan to request that a judge review the order if a material change in circumstances has occurred.
This may include a parent completing a domestic violence education course or the child reaching an age where they can have a say about whether they wish to visit a non-custodial parent. A visitation lawyer in Cobb County could help examine a visitation plan and determine if a modification may be warranted.
Visitation time with their kids is often a cherished period for non-custodial parents to spend quality moments with their children. In fact, the law assumes that a parent without custody would still have unsupervised visits with their children on a regular basis. Any failure to provide this time on the part of a custodial parent or an inability to care for the children during visitation time may result in serious legal trouble.
A Cobb County visitation lawyer could help you fight for a fair visitation plan, argue for better terms, and even move for a modification to an existing order. Call today to learn more.