When parents split, they must establish a parenting plan that confirms where the children will live and how the schedule will work. Most commonly, Connecticut co-parents share parenting time roughly equally. Sometimes circumstances don’t allow for this; one parent has sole or primary physical custody of the children, and the other has visitation rights.
If you’re a non-custodial parent, you cherish the time with your children. When your co-parent interferes with the length or quality of that time, a family lawyer can help you take legal action to enforce your rights. Alternatively, you might have good reason to withhold visitation with a co-parent.
Consult our West Hartford visitation lawyer to advise you on legal actions to preserve your parental relationship.
The Importance of a Visitation Schedule
You know your children’s needs, the activities that are important to them, and your strengths and weaknesses as parents. Divorce courts prefer that parents make a visitation or parenting plan that works for their family.
You could use a mediator to help devise an acceptable parenting plan or hire an attorney to negotiate the agreement. The plan should give each of you enough time to maintain a close relationship with the children. It should specify the days spent with each parent, pick-ups and drop-offs, and other places you can collect the children, among other matters. The hope is that clarity will reduce confusion and conflict.
Child’s Right to Visitation
Though people often speak of a parent’s right to have parenting time or visitation, the law sees it as a child’s right and generally presumes children benefit from significant quality time with both parents.
Sometimes, a parent allows their bitterness over a divorce to affect them in ways that are harmful to their children. For example, a parent might disparage a co-parent in front of the children or discourage them from visiting their other parent. Even when the behavior is more subtle, children understand they could please their custodial parent by expressing reluctance to have visitation.
Such actions can be highly detrimental to children and are discouraged by the courts. A visitation lawyer in West Hartford can bring a motion to enforce the parenting plan and direct the offending parent to cease the behavior. In some cases, the judge could modify the parenting plan or even find the offending parent in contempt of court.
Compliance With Parenting Plan Required Unless the Child Is at Risk
Generally, you must comply with a visitation plan until a judge issues a modified schedule. The custodial parent must make the child available for visits even if the co-parent has a habit of missing visits or the child doesn’t want to go. If a parent falls behind in child support, the other parent cannot deny visitation access.
The exception is if you have safety concerns for yourself or your child. In that case, you should first contact the local police to make sure everyone is safe. Next, you should hire an experienced West Hartford visitation lawyer to help you figure out your options.
If a parent feels there’s a benefit to changing the visitation plan, they could suggest a modification. If the co-parent agrees, they could revise the plan and submit it to the divorce court for approval. If the co-parent disagrees, there could be a petition for modification.
Threat to the Child’s Wellbeing
In rare situations, you must terminate visitation to protect the child. A West Hartford visitation attorney can help prepare an ex parte order seeking an immediate change to the parenting plan.
If you can show your child is at risk of abuse, domestic violence, alcohol or drug use, criminal activity, or other serious threat in the co-parent’s home, the judge could temporarily halt visitation. They’ll order a hearing within a few days to allow the co-parent the opportunity to present their side of the story. We can help you make the case for your child’s safety.
Trust a West Hartford Visitation Attorney to Assist You
Unless you have safety or mental health concerns, developing and following a realistic and consistent visitation schedule generally will help support your children’s well-being.
At Freed Marcroft, our West Hartford visitation lawyer can help modify your parenting plan and seek court enforcement or an emergency custody order. Call today to discuss your options during a consultation.