Child visitation laws are an integral part of the divorce process. As the divorce rate increases at an astounding rate, close to 50% of children and adolescents are growing up in a single-parent environment. Children need their parents in order for them to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. If the bond between the parent and the child is broken, negative consequences can be a result and can be traumatic for a child.
Some deadbeat parents don’t mind the fact that they don’t get to see their kids. However, the majority of parents that don’t have full-time custody see their children every chance they get. Unfortunately, sometimes the custodial parent makes it difficult for the other parent to see the child. This is usually an issue if the parents went through a messy divorce, the parents do not get along, or if the other parent is considered a threat. Child visitation laws are in effect to ensure that each parent has a designated time to spend with their children and maintain their relationship.
State Visitation Laws
State child visitation laws, like state child custody laws, have traditionally favored ongoing contact between children and both parents. However, many state statutes now address the problems raised by visitation with parents who have perpetrated domestic violence. Most states are requiring courts to take into account the safety needs of the battered parent and the child when determining visitation orders, setting aside child visitation laws. Courts must consider supervised visitation or deny visitation rights to perpetrators when the court finds that safe visitation is not possible.
One of the main problems with supervised visitation is that it is usually required with low-income families. Although the safety of the parent and the child is there, it can be logistically difficult and expensive, especially for low-income families who do not have the money to pay for supervision. There are very few communities that have free programs that allow court-ordered supervised visitation to be carried out in a safe and effective manner. Without access to such facilities, the custodial parent may have to rely on friends or relatives who are not trained to handle visitation situations that may be harmful to them or their children.
The revamping of child visitation laws can offer better solutions for situations involving the safety of the parent and children. Various solutions to the problem of ensuring that supervised visitation is safe and accessible have been attempted or proposed in several states. It’s been recommended that the perpetrator of domestic violence pay the costs of supervised visitation. Some states have taken steps to create state-run supervised visitation centers. California has set statutory standards for providers of supervised visitation, and Florida has established a clearing-house of supervised visitation providers.
Every state has different child visitation laws, which constantly evolve to suit or ever-changing society. If you are concerned about child visitation with a potentially violent or abusive spouse, contact an attorney with experience in child visitation laws. It is always better to be safe than sorry.