Visitation is the old-fashioned term for the time noncustodial parents spend with their children after separation or divorce. Now, it is often referred to parenting time or parental timesharing.

When you are an involved parent concerned about having enough time with your children parting ways with your co-parent, speak with a local family attorney. The law supports both parents’ rights to spend significant time with their children. Still, a Southbury visitation lawyer can advise you throughout the proceedings to ensure you can maintain a central role in your children’s lives. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled family attorney today.

The Law Favors Meaningful Contact with Both Parents

The law establishes that children benefit from frequent, meaningful contact with both parents. Connecticut supports joint custody arrangements—where parents share time with the children as evenly as circumstances permit—whenever feasible.

Sometimes, the children must live with only one parent because of scheduling, health, the parents’ location, or other factors. In these cases, the other parent receives the right to visitation.

Courts encourage parents to negotiate their own arrangements for parental timesharing. Their agreement must be incorporated into a parenting plan that describes in detail:

  • Where the children will live
  • When they will be with the other parent
  • Who is responsible for transportation and similar issues

The parents submit the plan to the court, and the judge will incorporate it into an enforceable court order if it serves the children’s best interests.

Visitation When Safety Concerns Exist

Sometimes, one parent wants to limit the co-parent’s contact with the children. Courts occasionally allow this, but only when one parent can prove the other is unfit, or the children are not safe under the parent’s supervision.

These situations usually arise when a parent has a documented history of child abuse or domestic violence that impacted the children. It could also come up if a parent has a substance abuse issue, untreated mental health condition, or is involved in criminal activity.

When a parent can substantiate that the children’s safety is at risk with the co-parent, a judge could require supervised visitation—where visits occur in the presence of another responsible adult. A skilled Southbury attorney can assert or defend a request for supervised visitation.

Only Legal Parents Have a Right to Visitation

When unmarried parents have a child, they can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity, which bestows parental rights on the non-birthing parent , and enables both names to be on the child’s birth certificate. The acknowledgment makes both parents legal parents to the child.

When parents are unmarried and do not sign and file the form, the child has only one legal parent, the mother. If the parents later split, the father has no legal right to custody or visitation. The father would need to establish his paternity, either through voluntary acknowledgment or seeking a determination of paternity in court.

Same-sex parents who grow their families through assisted reproduction technology (ART) can sign an Acknowledgement of Parentage in the hospital or birth center where their child is born. This form makes both parents legal parents under Connecticut law. However, if the couple later splits and a partner relocates out of state, other states might not recognize the non-biological parent’s status. LGBTQ couples should discuss adopting any children conceived through ART to ensure all states recognize them both as the child’s legal parents.

Non-Parents Could Receive Visitation in Some Cases

Although only legal parents have a right to visitation, other people who are important in the child’s life—such as stepparents and grandparents—could secure the right to spend time with the child. However, the person seeking visitation must meet a high legal threshold to be awarded visitation.

Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-59 allows someone other than a parent to petition for visitation if they have a relationship with the child that is similar to a parental relationship, and upon a finding the child would suffer harm if the relationship ended. In most legal matters concerning children, a judge must decide based on the child’s best interests, but when a non-parent wants visitation rights, they must show that denying visitation would cause actual harm. A non-parent seeking visitation with a child in Southbury should consult an experienced visitation lawyer for advice about whether they have sufficient proof of harm to bring an action in court.

Get Help on Visitation Matters from a Southbury Attorney

Relationships with children are precious to the adult and the child. When you are concerned about preserving the connection you have with a child—whether you are a parent, another relative, or someone else with an important role in the child’s life—it is important to know your rights.

Talk to a Southbury visitation lawyer about any issue regarding contact with children. They can explain the relevant law in your case and help you meet your visitation goals. Call today.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
220 Main Street Suite I Southbury CT 06488 (203) 806-9254