Liberal Visitation and the Rights and Responsibilities of Divorced Parents

About 50% of marriages in the United States end up in divorce. Communication, finances, abuse, irreconcilable differences, and infidelity are some of the major reasons behind these separations, and these divorces may happen to anyone at any time. Going through a divorce greatly affects not only you and your spouse but also the people around you — your friends, your parents, your co-workers even, and especially your children.

Children from divorced families have a higher probability of dropping out from high school. They also experience lower academic achievement and are more likely to have academic, behavioral, and psychological problems.

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It is hard for a child to accept and cope with the separation of his or her parents. Many changes must be made and the child may be overwhelmed and pressured by the situation he or she is already in. However, each parent still has a responsibility to the child even after they have legally separated. They still have the duty of supporting their child. The custodial parent carries the responsibility of raising the child and the non-custodial parent is expected to support the financial needs of the child.

However, the court may grant liberal visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. Parents should negotiate about their child’s visits to avoid dispute. This will help the child cope with the situation and eventually accept the new reality of his or her family. Often, the non-custodial parent makes a request to the custodial parent and these requests are expected to be accommodated most of the time. Agreeing on visitation schedules will help parents stay connected with their child and will lessen the possibility of depression — not only for the parents but also for the child.

Making arrangements, especially for newly divorced parents may be hard and exhausting. It would be difficult and stressful to put aside the relationship issues that you once had. But despite these challenges, both parties should be able reach an agreement if they set their personal issues aside and focus on what’s best for their child. By cooperating with the other party, their child would be able to feel secure in his or her new environment. This will also serve as a healthy example for the child to understand that disputes may be solved in a calm and peaceful manner.

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Communication is one of the most important factors in maintaining a good and healthy relationship. Both parents must have proper communication between them and also with their child. This will help avoid the formation of arguments and misunderstanding. Both parents must do what they can to support the different needs of their child — be it emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, mental, financial, etc. They must also be flexible enough to be able to complement the limitations of the other party (for example, the custodial parent has a lower income compared to the non-custodial parent).

Liberal visitation rights must be respected by both parties, for they each have the right to spend time with their child. However, demands of the non-custodial parent may go overboard. When this happens, it would be helpful to ask the child what he or she wants, but in cases where both parties find it hard to agree on important mattes, contacting an attorney might be the best recourse.

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