When a court gives exclusive child custody to one parent, the non-custodial parent maintains the right to see and visit the child. If the court’s custody decree fails to mention visitation rights, the law implies the parent’s right to visitation. Even if though a strong presumption in favor of visitation rights exists, courts may impose restrictions on visitation by non-custodial parents.
If custodial parent convinces the court that visitation rights would be injurious to the child’s best interests, then the court possesses the authority to deny visitation rights.
The best interest of the child analysis, does not give dispositive weight to the child’s stated desires because parents inheritably possess the right to attempt to repair the parent-child relationship.
Cases in which courts deny visitation rights often include non-custodial parents who had physically or emotionally abused the child in the past or non-custodial parents severely suffering from a mental illness that would emotionally devastate the child.
Noncustodial parents who are incarcerated or who have a prison record are not categorically denied visitation rights.
If a parent refuses to obey the court’s visitation or custody decree, the court can order the parent in indirect contempt of court.
Types of visitation include:
- Unsupervised Visitation:
This is the most common type of visitation in which the non-custodial parent with unsupervised visitation are generally allowed to take their children to their own homes or may enjoy an outing child with their children during their scheduled visitation. Sometimes limitations are be placed on unsupervised visitation; for example, a non-custodial parent may be asked to visit his infant child at the mother’s home until the child is accustomed to taking a bottle.
- Supervised visitation:
Supervised visitation means that another responsible adult must be present for the duration of the visit. The courts may allow the non-custodial parent to select an individual to serve as the supervisor–such as a grandparent, depending on the circumstances. In other cases, the parent and child must meet at specified location so that an appointed social worker or court-appointed designee can supervise the visit.
- Virtual visitation:
Virtual visitation basically means communication takes place over the internet between the child and non-custodial parent and may include video chatting, instant messaging, and email.