After a separation or divorce, if joint child custody has been awarded, child visitation rights are granted to the non-custodial parent. A court may grant short-term visitation rights to one parent, and the other will receive primary physical custody of the child during the divorce case.
In the case of a family law judge deciding that it is best for the child to maintain regular contact with both parents, long-term child visitation rights are granted.
Child visitation rights are not considered a given right. The court may decide that it is in the best interest of the child to grant sole custody to one parent, rather than to allow access rights to the other.
The non-custodial parent can still be ordered to pay child support in cases where access rights are denied. Child visitation rights and child support responsibilities are two separate distinct issues.
On the other hand, if a parent receives child support payment obligations and visitation rights, there is a chance that he/she will not lose their visitation rights even if they fail to pay child support.
However, there are many ways in which a parent can be punished for not paying child support; loss of access rights is simply not one of them.
So long as both parents can agree to the terms decided, child visitation rights laws enable parents to bring about a rational visitation plan, as long as the plan made is in the best interest of the child. A third party sometimes becomes involved in the making of a access plan, as they are unbiased and able to assist a discussion of both parents wants and needs in order to reach an acceptable agreement without going to trial.
If an agreement cannot be reached however, the court may intervene and determine the child access rights. In cases of domestic violence the courts may also decide on access rights.
An example of a usual visitation schedule would be the non-custodial parent spending time with the child on weekends and certain holidays.
Violations of a court order, relocation of the custodial parent, change of a parent's job, danger posed to the child by one parent are but a few of the reasons for child access rights to be changed. If a parent wishes to change any part of the access rights, they must petition the court. Child visitation rights aims to grant both parents the opportunity of developing a healthy relationship with their child.