Chester County Visitation Attorney
Protecting Your Right to Visitation in Chester County
When you go through a divorce or separate from a partner, one of the most critical issues to resolve is the time you will have with your children. The courts in Chester County usually encourage both parents to spend time with their children, and parents are advised to develop detailed visitation plans in conjunction with each other’s schedules. However, child visitation rights can be complicated, especially if there are negative emotions left over after a divorce.
If you are facing difficulties with your visitation schedule in Chester County, contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. immediately. Our Chester County visitation attorney has over 25 years of experience handling a variety of family law cases and can thoroughly explain to your rights if you are being denied visitation from another parent. Call us at (610) 645-0100 to learn what options are available to you in Chester County.
How Is Visitation Determined in Chester County?
Visitation is a different issue than child custody. Whereas custody determines whose home a child lives in or who makes legal decisions for a child, visitation refers to a parent’s right, or the rights of other family members, to spend time with a child after a divorce or separation. Even when a parent has not been granted custody, the court will grant visitation rights in almost all cases, often in the form of a visitation schedule.
Other relatives of the child may also be able to file for visitation rights, including stepparents, grandparents, siblings, and close blood relatives. Factors considered by the court in granting visitation to stepparents and family members include the:
- Best interests of the child
- Closeness of the family member to the child
- History of the child’s relationship with the family member
- Relationship of the family member with the child’s parents or guardians
- Length of time a stepparent has fulfilled the role of parent
- The closeness of the child with a stepparent’s children
- Financial support a stepparent has provided to the child
While several different family members can seek visitation, there are also different types of visitation that can be awarded by the court.
What Are Types of Visitation?
In most cases, visitation for a parent involves having the child come to visit or stay at the parent’s home, often as a part of a larger custody plan. Even after a contentious divorce, many parents agree to a detailed visitation schedule that accounts for:
- What days of the week a child spends with a specific parent
- How weekends are divided
- Who the child will live with during the school year
- How holidays are divided, as well as summer schedules when schools are closed
- Specific times when visitation begin and end
However, there are situations where the court may grant a modified type of visitation for unique situations, including:
In this case, the child is allowed to visit with a non-custodial parent only under someone else’s supervision. The supervising person may be the custodial parent, a court-appointed person, or an approved family member. Supervised visitation may be necessary when one parent believes the other parent poses a danger to the child. This type of visitation may be granted when a parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, abandonment, or domestic abuse.
If one parent moves out of town or out of state after a divorce or separation, it can limit the time the non-custodial parent can spend with the child. One way to make it easier for the non-custodial parent to bond with the child is to set up virtual visitation time. Visitation is arranged at specific times with a video chat system and the other parent cannot deny you the right to use such a service to spend time with your child.
Who Is Allowed to Seek Visitation?
Of course, biological parents are allowed to seek visitation with their children, but others in a child’s life may seek visitation, as well. These include stepparents and siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and any other blood relatives who have had a close relationship with the child. Grandparents specifically are allowed to seek visitation if:
- The parents are deceased, divorced, or have been separated for at least six months; or
- The child lived with the grandparent for a year or more and was subsequently removed by a parent.
Both parents are required to abide by a visitation schedule and cannot block the other from spending time with their child if it is court-ordered. This also extends to making it difficult to have visitation time, such as delaying dropping off a child at an agreed time, failing to update the other parent about an emergency appointment or event, and constantly changing the visitation schedule. When the other parent creates obstacles for visitation, you do have the right to contact a lawyer and ask for a modification from a Chester County court.
How Our Chester County Law Firm Can Help
The laws surrounding visitation rights are among the most complicated in the state of Pennsylvania, and you will want the law on your side when visitation matters are decided in court. It is in your best interests to have an experienced attorney handling your case, especially if the other parent is denying you your right to visitation. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. has worked with numerous clients seeking visitation and can provide honest, compassionate advice on how to move forward with a case. To determine if we are the right fit for you, call us at (610) 645-0100 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our Chester County family law attorney is ready to hear your case and provide outstanding representation.