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Parenting Time/Visitation Lawyer Overview

Family Law Attorney Assistance in Resolving Legal Disputes Over Parental Visitation Rights

When parents are divorced, separated, or unmarried and living apart, decisions will need to be made about child custody, including who children will primarily live with. Even if parents have joint physical custody of children, one parent will typically be designated the residential or custodial parent, and the other parent will have visitation time with children.

Each state has its own laws regarding custody and visitation, and they typically protect children’s right to have a relationship with both parents. When making decisions about custody and visitation, it is important to work with a family law attorney who understands applicable state laws and can ensure that parents’ and children’s rights are protected.

Changing Approaches to Visitation/Parenting Time

In recent years, many states have updated their laws to reflect the nature of modern parent/child relationships. In the past, primary custody of children would often be granted to the mother, who served as a homemaker devoted to family duties while the father worked and earned an income for the family. However, in today’s relationships, both parents often work full-time and share equally in providing care for children, and most family courts now recognize this new reality when making decisions about custody and visitation.

Some states have changed their laws to avoid naming one parent as the primary parent and granting visitation to the other parent, instead describing parenting time that is divided between parents. However, even in states in which a parent is granted primary custody, courts will usually acknowledge that it is in children’s best interests for both parents to continue having a close relationship with them.

In another recent trend, some states have considered or passed laws which presume that is in children’s best interests to spend equal or near-equal amounts of parenting time with both parents. Many fathers' rights advocates support these changes to the law, since they believe they will protect children’s rights to have a close, ongoing relationship with both parents. However, advocates for victims of domestic violence have opposed these laws in some cases, since they believe the laws will make it harder for victims of domestic abuse to protect themselves and their families from their abusers.

When reaching decisions about child custody and visitation, parents can make sure that their and their children’s rights are protected by working with an experienced attorney. A family law attorney can help parents understand the laws in their state and advocate for their rights and their children’s best interests in family court.

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