Though many states vary in some of the factors that will help determine child custody in the event of divorce or legal separation, one underlying principle that serves as a constant guide in every decision is the child’s best interest. It is only after determining who gets custody that another important issue would need settlement – visitation rights.
In a divorce case, visitation right is awarded to the non-custodial parent. The details of this right, according to the Marshall & Taylor Law Firm, P.C., may be arrived at through “private agreement between the parents, mediation or filing a complaint to be settled by trial.” Whether agreed upon by both parents or pronounced by the court, a detailed visitation schedule (which states the regularity of visits, the exact schedule of picking up and returning the child to the custodial parent, as well as vacation and/or holiday schedules), which will work best for the child and the parents, will have to be made.
It is only upon the determination that the non-custodial parent is unfit to be with the child can the court deny such parent the right to enjoy time with his/her child. By unfit, it is meant that the parent concerned has been proven to be an illegal drug user, an alcoholic and/or verbally or physically abusive. In the event when visitation right has been awarded, such decision may be changed only if the visiting parent is found to fail consistently in following the schedule of visitation or in returning the child (to the custodial parent) at the agreed time; teaching the child illegal or immoral acts and being convicted of a crime (this does not included parents with a prison record, though) are also grounds for the modification of the decision.
Determining who gets child custody and who is given visitation rights are often so hard since many divorcing parents cannot agree on these two divorce-related issues. This is a fact confirmed by Frisco divorce attorneys of Alexander & Associates in an article in their firm’s website; the article goes on to say that the complexities surrounding the divorce issue may eventually be clarified, finally leading to a settlement agreeable to both parents, by seeking legal assistance which will also help ensure that your rights are defended without compromising your child’s best interest.