Like all states, both parents in Pennsylvania have the right to have a strong relationship with their children, even after a divorce. In fact, the family courts nationwide have recognized how beneficial it is for children to have continuing and frequent contact with both parents. Because of this belief, such an arrangement is strongly encouraged providing it is safe for the children.
Usually, it is best for the parents to reach a child custody agreement and have it officially signed off by a judge and made into a court order. If you have a written agreement with your ex, even if it’s notarized, it cannot be enforced by the police unless it’s been made into a court order. That being said, it’s best to get any written agreement made into a court order so it can be enforced by the courts if there are any issues down the road.
What is Visitation Exactly?
Visitation has to do with the noncustodial parent’s right to have quality time with his or her children. Merriam-Webster defines visitation as, “Temporary custody of a child granted to a noncustodial parent.” Generally, noncustodial parents have a right to “visitation” unless there is a safety concern; for example, the noncustodial parent has a severe mental illness, they have committed child abuse, or they have a substance abuse problem.
There are two types of visitation: supervised and unsupervised. In most cases, supervised visitation is saved for circumstances where there has been domestic violence. However, visitation is somewhat of a loose concept in the family court system. Currently, the courts do not have strict rules about visitation, so judges have a lot of discretion and they typically make visitation orders based on the best interests of the child.
Child custody can be confusing. If you’re getting a divorce and you have minor children, it’s important to be knowledgeable about your child custody and visitation rights. Contact Cairns Law Offices to seek advice from one of our qualified attorneys.