In a custody case, the child will physically reside with whoever is awarded primary physical custody. The other parent will be entitled to visitation, which is often determined by a set schedule. However, visitation can also be liberal and flexible with mutual agreement by both parents.
When a parent has visitation rights, they are entitled to have the child with them during their set times. When the child is with that parent, they are responsible for the care of the child. As there are several considerations that factor into a determination of visitation in New Haven child custody cases, dedicated legal counsel is often required to successfully navigate the process. Whether you are negotiating a parenting agreement or wish to change the terms of your visitation schedule, a skilled lawyer at our firm can help.
When physical custody is awarded to one parent, they will typically spend more than 50% of the time with the child. Even if the two parties share joint legal custody, the parent without physical custodial rights will usually have less parenting time with the child. Depending on the set parenting schedule, visitation can range anywhere from an hour to multiple days a week.
Children can be consulted with respect to visitation, although there typically must be a pending custody evaluation. The court may consider a child’s input on visitation by ordering a guardian ad litem to consult with them and ensure their best interests are being protected. Alternatively, a family relations officer may conduct a custody evaluation, which involves interview the child, upon a court referral.
The opinion and wishes of older children, such as teenagers, may hold more weight in a determination of parental visitation than those of younger children. However, the decision is ultimately up to the judge and whether the parents can agree on a visitation schedule.
If there is a substantial change in circumstances from the first custody order, visitation can be renegotiated. This could be a change in the parent’s employment or living situation, or a change in the child’s school or schedule. Anything that alters the schedule of the parents or the children might warrant filing a motion to alter the visitation awarded. A well-practiced lawyer in the area could help a parent file for a modification of visitation.
In some cases, the final visitation order is the outcome of a contested hearing wherein the parties were unable to agree amongst themselves on a parenting plan. Once a judge has issued an order on visitation, the only way to contest the outcome is by filing an appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court or trying to seek a motion to reargue the judge’s decision. However, a party cannot re-litigate the order without filing an appeal, unless there is a substantial change in circumstances that would warrant a change to visitation.
If you are seeking visitation time, contact an attorney to fight for the best interests of you and your child. Whether there is a custody order in place or not, a dedicated lawyer can help protect your rights and work to establish a fair and practical visitation schedule.
Our family lawyers can advise individuals throughout the process of determining visitation in New Haven child custody cases. Call today to set up a meeting with a skilled member of our team.