State law has continuously affirmed that a child benefits when both parents are involved in their life. Even in divorce, the law provides visitation to ensure the child has meaningful contact with each parent.
Unfortunately, because visitation is generally the result of one parent being awarded primary custody, it can be a sensitive subject for the parent who must obey a court-ordered schedule to see their child. A dedicated Hamilton County visitation lawyer could work tirelessly to obtain maximum contact for a non-custodial parent. Our experienced child custody attorneys could also assist stepparents in securing time with their stepchildren.
In a child custody case, visitation is defined as the right of the non-custodial parent to spend time with their child under a specific schedule. However, state law has generally replaced the term ‘visitation’ with ‘parenting time’ or residential time’ to avoid any negative implication that a parent is only a ‘visitor’ in the child’s life.
Grandparents and some other third parties may also have visitation rights in certain situations. The defining standard by which judges must determine all visitation requests based on a child’s best interests.
When determining best interests, courts may consider various factors under state law. Some of these include:
A judge may also assess any other evidence they deem helpful to their visitation decision. A knowledgeable attorney is well-familiar with statutory factors regarding visitation in Hamilton County and could help a parent understand how judges apply them.
State law permits judges to consider a ‘standard’ visitation schedule for non-custodial parents. Typically, they may have parenting time every other weekend during the child’s school year, two weeks in the summer, and equal sharing of holidays throughout the year. Additionally, the non-residential parent may enjoy an evening each week or every other week with their child.
It is essential to note that this schedule is a guideline, not an absolute mandate. Judges may deviate from this schedule if a different parenting time arrangement better serves a child’s best interests. A parent seeking visitation is well-advised to consult a practiced lawyer in Hamilton County to discuss their specific situation and possible visitation in their case.
Stepparents do have the right to file a petition in family court for court-ordered contact with their stepchild. However, this right is limited. Under Tennessee Code Annotated §36-6-303, the stepparent must be “actually providing or contributing towards the support of” their stepchild. Additionally, the visitation must be in the child’s best interest regardless of the stepparent’s economic support.
State law recognizes that a stepparent may have been their stepchild’s primary caregiver in some situations and developed a strong relationship with them. Severing that relationship when the parents divorce could be detrimental to the child. A stepparent at risk for losing time with their stepchild could consult a seasoned local lawyer for solid legal advice.
Court-ordered visitation is a powerful legal concept, as it can mean the difference between being an involved parent or absent from your child’s life. As such, it is essential to present your case to a judge persuasively.
A skilled Hamilton County visitation lawyer could work to ensure that your parenting time agreement allows you substantial time with your child. Our trusted legal team understands how important it is to maintain a meaningful role in your child’s life and can advocate for your rights in court. Call today to schedule a consultation with our team.