In a divorce or child custody action, visitation rights refer to the approval granted by the court to the non-custodial parent in being with his or her child at times agreed upon by spouses (during their divorce process) or at times that have been determined by the courts; courts, however, prefer that visitation schedule is decided by both parents.
Once a courts approves a non-custodial parent’s visitation rights, this should be respected and observed by both the custodial and non-custodial parents. If, in case, a custodial parent denies his or her former partner the right to visit their child, then non-custodial parent gains the right to request the court for a modification in the child custody decision.
While a court has the authority to grant visitation right, it also has the authority to deny a non-custodial parents this right. Denial of this right is necessary if the non-custodial parent would only negatively impact the child’s growth and development if he or she spends time with the child. According to the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, this is most likely the case if the non-custodial parent: poses immediate danger to the child due to alcohol or drug abuse; does not want to be visited by the child; has a history of domestic violence; and/or, resides in an unsafe neighborhood. On the other hand, to make sure that ‘fit’ non-custodial parents are given time with their child/children, some states have found it necessary to determine specific days when parent and child can spend bonding moments.
Some states, like Utah and Texas, for instance have determined specific times a non-custodial parent can spend with his or her child. In other states, a court may just allow divorced parents to draw a “reasonable visitation” schedule – a schedule that will actually work for both parents, considering their specific jobs and available time.