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.

Visitation FAQs

Who receives parenting time?

The parent who does not have physical custody will have scheduled parenting time with the children, except in unusual situations.

Can I stop paying child support if the other parent won't let me visit my child?

No. You can go to Court and ask to end the child support order until you receive your parenting time, but you cannot end payments without the Court’s permission. The Court does not like to stop child support payments and it will allow support to be stopped only if there is proof that you have had very serious problems obtaining your parenting time.

Can I stop allowing parenting time if the other parent stops paying child support?

No. You must give the other parent the parenting time ordered even if child support is not being paid.

Do I have to make my children go on visits if they don't want to go?

Yes, the children need to go on visits that a Court has ordered, even if they don’t want to go. You should try to find out why the children do not want to visit the other parent and work out any problems together or through counseling. Only in rare cases does the Court limit time spent with the other parent.