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Visitation Law

Visitation Law

Visitation terms are included in divorce decrees or child custody orders or settlement paperwork that is either signed by the judge or all the parties. This is so that noncustodial parents have a legal right to spend time with their children. It is important to know that visitation terms are court orders that must be upheld. If your visitation rights are being violated, consider the following suggestions.

First, maintain a written account of each time your visitation rights are violated. If your spouse routinely cancels or interferes with your scheduled plans to spend time with your children, it will be important to have a record of this behavior. Be sure to note the date, time, explanation provided by the custodial parent and any efforts you made to reschedule time with your children.

Second, If you and your former spouse are on speaking terms, and the visitation infraction is minor, it may be worthwhile to attempt to come to a resolution through discussion. Try to identify what caused the breach in your agreement and how to prevent it from happening again.

Third, call a child custody lawyer. If discussion is not an option, or when visitation violations continue, it may be time to resolve the issue in court. By filing a motion with your local court, you and your spouse will be required to appear before a judge. The judge has the ability to enforce your visitation schedule, change custody and alter alimony payments as appropriate. Judges can also hold parents who violate visitation orders in contempt of court. Remember, when a parent believes that children would be at risk under the supervision of the visiting parent, they may breach visitation orders so long as they can support the action before a judge.

Child Custody Rights When You’re Not a Parent

In some situations, courts may grant custody to third parties like grandparents, close relatives or other close friends with whom he child is familiar. The last 20 years have seen a significant increase in the rights of non-parents who wish to seek visitation and custody rights of children that have divorced parents.
Non-parental custodial rights can come into play in situations such as: (1) Custody proceedings in which a judge believes that neither parent is fit to be the primary custodian of the child; (2) When the child in question has already been in the custody of a third party for an extended period of time; and (3) One of the custodial parents has passed away and a third party demonstrates that the surviving parent is not fit for custodial duties

The biggest barrier for third parties to overcome in these cases is the “parental preference rule,” in which parents who are legally fit and able to care for their child have the paramount right to retain custody. Anyone seeking custody must overcome this rule.
Grandparents are the most common third parties to petition for custody of children based on the best interests of the child. However, grandparents will have no legal right to the child if the court determines that the parent is fit for duty. Courts cannot award custody to grandparents just because they would be better guardians for the child. Stepparents, aunts and uncles, companions of deceased parents and former companions of living parents are also common choices for custodial guardians in third-party custody cases.

Visitation Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help with visitation or custody, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD


Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506