In a divorce, there are different kinds of custodial arrangements someone can pursue. If one parent is granted sole custody, there is another parent who is granted visitation. Visitation is a term used to refer to the custodial time of the person who is not the primary caretaker. If one parent has primary custody, the other parent’s custodial time will typically be referred to as a visitation. Any parent of the child can request visitation. However, a provision of Virginia law allows non-parents to ask for visitation.

The term used is a person with a legitimate interest. These could include extended family members, such as grandparents, stepparents, and other persons that the court decides to have a vested interest in the child and custodial access to the child. If you want to know more about Fairfax child custody visitation, get in touch with a knowledgeable child custody lawyer that can answer your questions.

Visitation and Custodial Time

Both visitation and custody refer to custodial time. In terms of the language, Fairfax child custody visitation is going to typically be used for the parent who has less custodial time with the children and custody is going to be typically used for the parent who has more custodial time with children.

That varies based on the family and the needs of the child. Some situations are extreme, for example, the non-primary custodian has severe mental health issues that could be damaging to a child.  The court may dictate that for a period of time there is going to be no contact between parent and child. Other circumstances require supervised access to the child, most commonly when there are issues related to the child’s safety.

Many people who are non-primary parents end up getting every other weekend with their children and holiday and summertime. There does seem to be a trend these days moving towards some sort of shared custodial arrangement between parents. This seems to be occurring as the children are born into families with two working parents. It is becoming a lot more common for a shared custody arrangement to be established between two parents.

Who Regulates Visitation

The determination of Fairfax child custody visitation, assuming the parties are not able to resolve the issues themselves, is left to the judge. Regulation of visitation is largely left to the parties unless there is a situation where there is supervision, in which case, there are programs that can be used to serve as the supervisors of visitation. In the event that one party violates the custody and visitation order, the enforcing party can take the issue before the judge again, as well.

There are lots of scenarios where a parent gets visitation. Situations in which a parent does not get visitation would be a much narrower portion of the cases. So long as a parent has a relationship with a child or desires to have a relationship with a child and there are no extenuating circumstances, the court is typically going to grant visitation access to that parent.

Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation is visitation that occurs between a parent and children with a third party to ensure that the children are not harmed. There are times when parties agree to a third-party supervisor, like an extended family member, neighbor, or friend. In the event that the parties cannot agree on who should be supervising visitation, there is a program in Fairfax called Stronger Together that provides for low cost, supervision of visitation for a brief period of time.

Seeking Visitation

It is possible to get visitation from the court without the assistance of an attorney, because the court believes strongly, unless there are extenuating circumstances, that children should have access regularly to both of their parents. Seeking visitation without the benefit of counsel is not necessarily going to result in a party not getting the visitation. However, if a party seeking visitation hires an attorney, they are more likely to get a better visitation arrangement, because that attorney will be able to advise them about the things the court places the greatest importance on, their experiences in prior cases, and how to handle certain situations with the other parent and the child.

Working With a Visitation Lawyer

It is important for somebody seeking Fairfax child custody visitation to understand their life and the considerations that the court is going to take into account in making a determination like that. Additionally, while it is often the case that a parent seeking visitation is going to get it, the question is how much visitation they are going to get. That is something that an attorney can provide strong advice on and possibly maximize the amount of visitation time between that parent and the children, based on their experiences and knowledge of the law.