Child Visitation Rights

Child Visitation Rights
After divorce when one parent is given the custody of child, the non-custodial parent is permitted legally to visit the child. Court may also give visitation rights to grandparents. Visitation rights are decided by the agreement of both parents and court’s order. If the court feels that both parents will cooperate, it does not issue a detailed visiting schedule. That means parents with their mutual consent should plan the best time and conditions that are feasible for both parents and child. But if the court feels that it is not in the best interest of child to visit one of his parents they can cancel the visitation right for that parent. This usually happens when there is strong evidence that the parent drinks excessive alcohol or is involved in illegal activities or is a narcotic or even abusive. The court’s decision about the custody of a child is often based on the child’s wish. The wish of the child is granted on the basis of his age, maturity and his ability to distinguish between the right and wrong. There are chances that visitation rights may be abused at times. This means that one parent (generally the custodian) may not allow the non-custodian parent to visit the child at stipulated time or pick up on the specified date and similar teasers.
There are two kinds of child custody:
(1) Legal Custody: It is the right, responsibility and authority of taking decisions about how to bring up the child. And involve decisions about education, medical expenses, discipline, religion etc.
(2) Physical Custody: It is the right that a parent has to keep his/her children with him/her. And this decision of physical custody is taken by court.
The visitation rights of parents also have effects on a child’s psychology and may affect his/her personality. Some of the effects of divorce and child visitation rights on children are discussed below:
The effects of Divorce on Children’s psychology:
When parents decide to get separated or divorced, their children face a great deal of stress. It can be very frightening for majority of the children to know that their lives will change drastically after their parents’ separation. Children from divorced parents get mature before their age because they learn to cope up with the difficult times at an early age when they faced many changes in their family. Usually their visits to their father are reduced and they have to change their schools and homes frequently. They have more responsibility on their delicate shoulders and their lifestyle gets affected. And the non-custodial parent sometimes may not reach up to the level of their expectations because of long distance relationship and communication barriers. And sometimes it takes a long period for children to adjust with these changes in their family and sometimes the problems continue till their adulthood. But if parents are sensitive enough to their children’s needs, this can help in adjustment. Child’s nature, age, gender and temperament also influence the degree of how well he or she adjusts to his/her parents’ separation. Some children can become even more sensitive or some becomes aggressive due to the effect of their parents’ divorce.
Usually preschoolers have more negative impact of divorce than the matured ones or teenagers, because preschoolers are emotionally very attached to their parents and fear abandonment and become depressed by the exchanging visits.
Children of age 5 to 8 are indulged in their own fantasies about their parent’s patch up and do not feel their selves responsible for the divorce. While the children of age 9 to 13 are mature enough to understand their parents’ divorce. They unconsciously become biased and show their disapproval or favor for one of their parents. But they can consciously show anger on their parents. Boys and girls react differently to their parents’ separation. Girls often become more sensitive, withdrawn and anxious and preoccupied while boys become rude, aggressive and disobedient. But usually boys adjust better than girls when one of their parents’ gets remarried.
What is the impact on children’s psychology when the non-custodial parent refuses to visit them?
When a parent chooses not to visit his or her child and not to be active or supportive, it causes damage to the child’s life. The child could suffer from the feeling of rejection, unworthiness and being unloved and his/her self-esteem is diminished. In this situation, what the custodial parent can do to help his/her child to cope with this stressful situation is to hide his or her own disappointment and do not let children feel that he/she is also concerned and worried about this problem. If you are also angry with your ex-spouse, conceal your anger from child and don’t share your thought with the little soul. Talk to your child and share their sorrow and feelings about being rejected and reassure them by expressing your love, and explain the children that the absence of non-custodial parent does not determine the child’s worth. Tell the child that the other parent is having difficulty in managing his/her time to pick the child. Let the child realize that the problem is not with him/her but the problem is with other parent who is unable to visit.
This is just another thing a custodial parent can do is to make the non-custodial parent realize his/her mistake and its negative impact on the children. Because some people are not sensitive enough to know how much important they are to their child, it really becomes necessary to make them realize for the sake of the child. But if after explaining all this to the non-custodial parent, he/she still does not show any concern, then leave it and stop convincing him/her because there must be a lack of caring and love. And if the non-custodial parent has made any plan with child and does not meet his commitment then you should make an alternative plan to distract the child’s mind from this hurtful situation.
An Advice for the Parents:
Doesn’t matter if you are a custodial or non-custodial parent, the visitation plan must consist of enough meetings and time to develop meaningful relationships between the child and visiting parent. This means visitations should be frequent and long enough to allow development of relationship because as the child spends most of his time with the custodial parent, he/she will take some time in adjusting with the non-custodial parent.