Even if their marriage did not make it until the end, parents, both custodial and noncustodial, want to maintain and strengthen their respective relationships with their children. This is why child custody determination is a sensitive and emotional process for parents.
One of the major concerns of parents, especially those expecting to be noncustodial, is whether there is a chance they could not visit their children at all.
Courts try to maintain child-parent relationships
Parents have the right to care for and spend time with their children. Courts acknowledge this right, so they generally try to create custody orders that will allow a continuous and maintained relationship between the child and each parent. The typical scenario is that one parent gets primary custody while the court awards visitation rights to the noncustodial parent.
Given that the right to care for and control children is a constitutional right of parents, the courts cannot outright deny visitation. If the circumstances warrant, the courts must conduct a hearing to decide whether the denial is necessary.
Instances when courts have no other option
As much as possible, courts will consider all available arrangements that will allow a child to maintain a relationship with their noncustodial parent. Unfortunately, some custody cases prompt the court to reduce, suspend or deny visitation.
Primarily, a court can deny visitation if it finds that this arrangement would pose a danger to the child’s physical, mental or emotional well-being. Common circumstances that warrant the denial are the following:
- A history or risk of domestic abuse or neglect
- A history of or ongoing alcohol or substance abuse
- A conviction of first-degree murder or manslaughter
Depending on the unique circumstances of the case, the court may issue a reduced or monitored visitation time. In worst cases, the court has no option but to totally deny the visitation since the child’s well-being is at risk.
Accordingly, the visitation ban is not permanent. In cases wherein the noncustodial parent goes through rehabilitation and presents a certificate of completion, the court may reinstate visitation rights. The same applies if the court finds that the visitation is in the child’s best interests.
Waiting for child custody and visitation results can be nerve-racking for parents. There are so many ‘what ifs’ that could affect their mental and emotional states. Fortunately, multiple resources are now available to cater to frequently asked custody questions.