Visitation is the right to have contact with a child and visit routinely. Typically after divorce, one parent has physical custody and the other parent has partial custody and visitation rights. The West Chester family lawyers at Morton & Kubacke Family Law, LLC help divorcing couples work out visitation agreements and ensure that visitation rights are enforced, post-divorce.
A fixed visitation schedule can help combative couples avoid continuing conflicts and create less stress for their children. Pennsylvania courts take into consideration a child’s wishes and what is in the child’s best interest (such as amicable relationships between parents). A fixed schedule, which is generally ordered by the court, establishes the place and times for visitation. For example, alternating certain holidays, weekends, or specified evenings may be designated for visitation.
When unmarried co-habiting couples with a child end their relationship, the father may need to establish paternity to secure visitation rights. In the past, Pennsylvania favored mothers in granting custody. However, today, the parent maintaining primary care of the child generally is granted physical custody; the other parent has partial custody and visitation rights. This pertains to situations where the wife works and the husband is at home with the children.
Troxel v. Granville was a grandparents’ rights case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court that granted fit parents the right to control the upbringing of their children, including determining the frequency and times that grandparents can visit. However, based on the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA), if one state grants grandparents visitation, then other states must abide by that decision.
When children live with a grandparent for over a year or one parent dies, the grandparent may have visitation rights or obtain partial or complete custody. However, there must be no custody conflict with a parent.
Conditions change, and one parent may want to move out of state or take an out-of-town job. Such changes often require modifying visitation schedules. Our Chester County divorce attorneys frequently represent clients in modification requests. When a parent does not abide by an existing visitation schedule, we can also file for enforcement actions.