Morehead City Family Law Attorneys Secure Family Visitation Rights
Issues related to child custody and visitation are sensitive matters that can quickly ignite during acrimonious divorce proceedings, leaving the child traumatized and the parents bitter. Working with an experienced family law attorney in Carteret County will help you achieve the best solution related to your family’s child custody and family visitation arrangements. We’ll protect your rights while handling this matter with compassion in order to minimize the emotional strain on your and your children.
Understanding Family Visitation in North Carolina
In North Carolina, when parents are divorcing, the parents are either given joint custody, which is where custodial guardianship is split equally between both parents, or one parent is given sole custody. However, the other parent, assuming he or she is fit in accordance with the court, is granted visitation rights in order to maintain a strong relationship with his or her child.
If the non-custodial parent has a past history with drug abuse, alcoholism, violence, or neglect, the parent may not receive visitation rights or only be granted limited or supervised visits.
Understanding Child Visitation Options
There are three main types of visitation in North Carolina: reasonable, structured, and supervised.
In North Carolina, child visitation may vary depending on the family situation and the needs of the child. For example, when a parent is awarded reasonable visitation, that means the courts don’t set a schedule, and the visitation times are set by the parents.
On the other hand, a structured family visitation schedule is determined by the courts. It may include every other weekend, alternating holidays, and school vacations with the non-custodial parent.
In the case where the non-custodial parent shows concerning behavior, has a history of aberrant behavior such as abuse, neglect, or drug use, or the non-custodial parent’s living environment is unfit, the judge may award supervised visits. Supervised visitation may take place in the non-custodial parent’s home, in another family member’s home, or in an off-site location, while the supervisor may be a relative, friend of the family, or a social worker. When visitation is supervised at an off-site location such as a doctor’s office, these settings provide more protection and documentation.
Once the parent has proven him or herself to be safe, reliable, or have an appropriate environment for the child, he or she may be granted non-supervised visitation.
Navigating Family Visitation with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
When the court is determining custody and visitation, it’s important to note that there are very specific factors in place:
- The court doesn’t favor the role of mother or father when determining custody, instead, looking at the best interests of the child.
- The court will consider joint custody if either parent requests it.
- Courts can grant visitation rights to extended family, such as grandparents, if it’s in the child’s best interests.
- Parents may be required to not use alcohol when with their child (either as custodial or visiting parent).
Do Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?
North Carolina recognizes grandparents as a third party, with no special rights to visitation. Unless stipulated otherwise, grandparents’ time with children is part of the time the children spend with their parents. For example, a paternal grandfather can see the children when they are with their father. In order to get visitation or custody, grandparents have to prove in court that both parents are unfit.
Understanding Family Visitation and Child Support
It’s important to note that child support and visitation are mutually exclusive. For example, a parent can not withhold visitation if the other parent isn’t paying child support, and a parent can’t withhold child support. Only court orders can change or withhold support or visitation rights, and parents who choose to do so independently can face legal action.
Seeking Custody and Visitation Modification
In some cases, child custody modification is possible. While the courts do seek to create arrangements that can be set for years, when circumstances change, the arrangements can be amended. The court looks at the child’s wishes and best interests, in addition to circumstantial changes like a parent’s employment schedule, living situation, or location.
Choosing a Family Law Attorney to Advocate for Visitation Rights
As a parent, you want what is best for your child, and we’re here to help protect your rights and act on behalf of you and your family. We are well versed in North Carolina custody law and will fight to get the custody and visitation arrangement that best works for you and your children. Whether you are seeking to increase your visitation days, are opposing an end to supervised visits, or want to move to a joint custody arrangement, we can offer you the legal counsel you need to achieve the outcome you want.
Contact our Morehead City Family Law Firm for Family Visitation Representation
When you need help with family visitation and custody in Carteret County, it’s important to work with an attorney who is experienced in these issues and able to help you achieve the best outcome. To schedule an initial consult, please call 252-585-5150 or fill out our contact form below. Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At Irons & Irons, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party.