Child Visitation Rights for Divorced Fathers

Visitation laws differ slightly from state to state but all guarantee visitation rights to fathers unless those rights have been terminated for specific reasons such as substantiated abuse or criminal behavior.

In most divorce cases, the divorce settlement establishes physical custody and the visitation rights and schedule for the non-custodial parent. When parents were never married, the courts are sometimes involved to make determinations regarding these visitation issues.

Visitation laws require that a visiting schedule, often called a parenting plan, is part of the final divorce order. If a father is denied his visitation rights, or there are constant hassles about them, he can appeal to the court to enforce the visitation schedule.

Excuses used by mothers to create problems with visitation include the child being sick, the child not liking a step-parent or step-sibling, relatives in town that want to see the child, school or social activities, or that child support payments have been late or missed. None of these can legally be used to deny a fathers visitation rights. Flexibility on the part of both parents can avoid conflict with visitation issues, but it doesn’t always work. In some cases counseling may be a good next step to address any child visitation issues. It is important that both parents try to not use the children as a tool against each other. A divorce is hard enough for the children without the added pain of being in the middle of a fight. Especially between the two people they love and need the most.

When a father is denied his visitation rights, the person denying those rights is in contempt of court and may be subject to fines or the loss of custody. It is not necessary, but it may prove helpful to hire a lawyer with solid expertise in protecting fathers visitation rights established by the parental visitation laws of your state.

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