What Parents Should Know About Visitation Changes

Visitation is usually ordered when one parent has sole physical custody of a minor child. The non-custodial parent spends time with the child using a visitation order. The order states when and where visitation can take place. Things go smoothly for many parents, but the sole custodian may try to deny visitation at times. To find out more about visitation denials, read on.

Who Can Change Visitation?

Only the judge can change a visitation order. Parents are not free to alter an agreement at will. However, parents that get along and work well together for the benefit of the child may make changes outside of court if they both agree to them. For instance, parents may decide that the child should remain in one place during school nights to promote more stability for the child if the child needs help with their homework. Small, minor, and temporary changes can help parents to fine-tune the visitation schedule. This type of adjustment does not change the original visitation order, however.

To make a permanent change in visitation, it must be in the best interests of the child. If both parents agree to the visitation change, the judge will often agree to alter the order. However, if the parents disagree about visitation changes, the parents should prepare to plead their cases and show reasons for making the change or leaving things as they are.

Common reasons for asking for a change include:

  • One of the parents is moving away from the area.
  • The child is older now and is asking to spend more or less time with a parent. For example, a child that is driving may be more independent and able to make visitation decisions.
  • A parent's work schedule has changed. For example, a parent who is now expected to travel for business might need different visitation arrangements.

Emergency Provisions

Parents who suspect that their children are being placed in dangerous situations can act quickly to have visitation suspended pending more investigation. However, the parent should have proof that the other parent is acting inappropriately and putting the child in danger. Some examples of that include:

  • Allowing the child to spend time with felons, drug dealers, pedophiles, etc.
  • The use of drugs or alcohol (to excess or when driving) when the child is present.
  • Physical or psychological abuse of the child.
  • Taking the child out of the area, state, or country without the permission of the custodial parent.

Proof in the form of photos, video, police reports, criminal records, and more will be required for the judge to make changes in visitation. Speak to a family law firm, such as Homesley & Wingo Law Group, about problems with visitation.