When parents divorce, in most cases one of the parents is given custody and the other parent is given visitation rights. The visitation schedule can vary according to each parents needs. A standard visitation agreement allows the non-custodial parent to see the children every other weekend with holiday’s split between the two parents. For example, one parent will have the children on Thanksgiving one year and the other one will have the child the next year. Judges always determine the custody and visitation agreements. The standard measuring tool is “what’s in the best interest of the child.” In recent years, judges have been just as agreeable to awarding custody to the fathers and visitation rights to the mothers.
In Georgia, grandparents have been awarded visitation rights as have step-parents who had a close bond with the child at the time they were married to the child’s parent. Again, as long as the judge finds the visitation is in the best interest of the child, visitation is often awarded in these circumstances.
A judge may grant supervised visitation in certain circumstances that include:
Allegations of domestic abuse against the parent. Allegations of mental cruelty against the child. Fear that the other parent would attempt to violate the custody order by kidnapping the child. In some cases where there is a great deal of conflict between the parties.
The supervisors may be a social worker but in many cases a family friend or relative observes the visitation. Usually the visitation is restricted to a certain place and time.
For a court to deny visitation to a parent, it must be determined that the child would be harmed in some way by continuing to have a relationship with the parent. This could be because of abuse allegations or because of criminal or immoral activity. In most cases, the court will not deny visitation permanently but will order the non-custodial parent to meet certain obligations.
Often a parent will deny the other parent visitation rights. This is a violation of a court order and the other parent can be charged with contempt. First, the parent who was denied visitation must file for modification of visitation. Unfortunately, this can take several weeks to move through the court system before the parent has his or her visitation rights destroyed.