This post is the second in a three part series on child custody, child visitation, and child support. If you haven’t read part 1 already, I recommend you do before continuing.
Child visitation is a bit of an umbrella term. Generally speaking, visitation simply refers to time spent with a child, and may or may not be dependent on legal or physical custody. However, when we talk about court ordered visitation, generally we’re talking about a distinct and separate issue from custody.
When is visitation ordered?
Visitation is most commonly ordered in cases where one parent is awarded full custody of the child. However, visitation may also be awarded in other cases if it is appropriate. The only way to know if your case is a good fit for child visitation is to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation
If one parent is denied physical custody of their child due to evidence of their being an unfit parent, but the court still believes that a relationship between them and the child is in the child’s best interest, they may order visitation through the Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation program, or SESV.
The SESV program, “provides children and their parents with a safe, nurturing environment for supervised visitation and exchange, allowing a child to continue his or her relationship with the noncustodial parent without being placed in the middle of parental conflicts.” (1) As you can tell from this statement, there are a wide range of circumstances where SESV can be useful. They maintain numerous staffed, neutral locations where visitation takes place.
It is also important to note that one need not be a child’s parent to be awarded visitation. However, if you are not the child’s parent, the court will need a very good reason to mandate visitation. The most common scenario where this happens is when grandparents have been a significant part of the child’s upbringing, and are now petitioning for visitation rights.
Check back soon for Sorting out Child Custody, Visitation, and Support Issues, Part 3