Visitation Parent-child access (parenting time) is ordered
so that the parent who does not have primary Legal Decision Making (Custody) of
the child can still see the child. The court will order reasonable parenting time
according to the age of the child, but the amount of parenting time can vary by
agreement between the parents. A judge cannot make a parent visit a child if the
parent does not want to.
Sometimes a party will ask for supervised parenting time. This means that the non-custodial
parent only has parenting time with another person present. Supervised parenting
time is ordered in cases where the non-custodial parent abuses drugs or alcohol,
is violent or abusive, or does not have the parenting skills to care for the child
without another adult present. Supervised parenting time is not intended to punish
the parent, but to protect the child.
The Court does not generally allow a custodial parent to totally prevent the other
parent from seeing the child on a regular basis. The only time this is appropriate
is if the non-custodial parent has seriously harmed or abused the child, or is otherwise
a serious danger to the child's emotional and /or physical health, or if there is
a court order saying that the parent shall not see the child. An order of no contact
by a parent is a last resort, and is used solely to protect the child.