Child Visitation Laws

Visitation laws entitle parents to parenting time and other child visitation rights. Visitation guidelines direct how the court will decide the amount of parenting time you receive based upon the best interests of the child. This may be determined through the process of mediation, a parenting time evaluation, or at trial.

Each case is unique. The amount of parenting time ordered in the visitation agreement will depend on the age of the children, scheduling requirements, and the distance between the parents’ households. Parenting time can be divided in a variety of ways. A parenting plan may provide for visitation on specified days, weekends, holidays, or other arrangements under appropriate circumstances. The court will generally accept any parenting plan that the parents have already agreed to.

In Oregon, parents are required by law to provide reasonable notice to the other parent if they intend on moving more than 60 miles further away from the other parent. However, the court or the other parent may agree to amend the visitation agreement so that you can move. In cases involving restraining orders, parenting time may be limited or supervised by a third party. Divorce cases involving such a move add complexity to a case involving minor children. You should seek the advice and guidance of an attorney skilled in this area if you intend on moving with your children a long distance away from the other parent. In Washington, it should be noted, the courts will generally assume a custodial parent’s decision to move is in the best interest of the child.

Third Party Visitation

If the biological parents fail to act in the child’s best interest, someone who has served as a parental figure to the child before may be granted custody or visitation rights. This happens most often when a third-party, such as a grandparent, has provided a child with housing, food, education, emotional support, and discipline for a period of time immediately preceding the initiation of the divorce. These can be complicated cases, involving a high burden of proof on the part of the third party.

In the case of blended families, it may be possible for a step-parent to be awarded parenting time. If a step-parent demonstrates that the child would be subject to serious harm if a child-parent relationship did not continue, then the court may order an appropriate visitation schedule.