Visitation rights are an essential part of child custody. It provides an opportunity to share quality time with the children, especially during vacations, holidays, birthdays, and other important dates. Parents can make their visitation agreement with or without a court order, but when one side does not respect the arrangement, the situation can be stressful and emotionally draining.
Spending time with your children is a fundamental part of parenthood. At Landry & Azevedo, we understand the importance of a healthy and robust relationship between child and parent. When you feel that your right to visitations has been infringed, our attorneys will step in to help you regain control. Call us any time for professional advice on (865) 851-7050.
Based in Knoxville, our attorneys have decades of collective experience helping clients establish and maintain visitation rights in East Tennessee. No matter how complex or acrimonious the relationship with the other parent, Landry & Azevedo has a proven track record of resolving these situations amicably. We are fully committed to your rights and advocate for you with the representation that you deserve.
Gaining an understanding your legal options is a crucial first step in addressing disputes over visitation rights. Let us answer your questions and provide you with the essential information you need to make an informed decision. Schedule an appointment with one of our visitation attorneys today for a brighter future tomorrow.
Determine Who is Eligible for Visitation in Tennessee
Once paternity is established, visitation rights are typically granted to the noncustodial biological parents. There are few exceptions to this rule, though the extent of the visitation rights depends mainly on the existing relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child. Judges make an exception if there is a chance the child may be at risk for physical or emotional harm.
Grandparents may sometimes also be eligible for visitation rights. These rights can be established during a divorce or other hearing pertaining to child custody. Although grandparents may gain visitation rights in certain situations, it is not automatic and requires an order from the court. Speak with an attorney at Landry & Azevedo regarding questions about whether you may be eligible, as a grandparent, to establish visitation rights with your grandchild.
The Importance of the Permanent Parenting Plan
The permanent parenting plan or PPP is an agreement between the two custodial parents that outlines the day-to-day care and control each parent has over the children. The terms of the PPP are formed and agreed to during the divorce. The legality of the document takes effect once the proceedings are final.
In 2001, Tennessee developed the PPP, which, consequently, got rid of terms like “joint custody” and “full custody.” The phrases primary residential parent (PRP) and alternative residential parent (ARP) replaced the originals. Similarly, the phrase “parenting time” replaced “visitation.”
The PRP in the custody battle is the parent that spends the most time with the child. Conversely, the ARP spends less time with the child. Even if custody is 50-50, one parent must be designated the PRP.
The point here is that even as an ARP, you have legal rights to see your children that cannot be repressed simply because of a title.
Factors Influencing Visitation Rights
The operative question when it comes to determining the terms of visitation rights is, “What is in the best interest of the child?” This question can take on many different forms as it examines all aspects of the child’s and parents’ lives. The most common factors influencing visitation rights are:
The age, sex, and physical and mental health of the child.
The physical and psychological health of the parents.
The strength of the relationship between parent and child.
The impact of change on the child’s life.
The lifestyle of each parent.
The ability of the parents to cooperate.
The preference of the child.
Modifying the Permanent Parenting Plan (PPP)
Despite the terminology, a permanent parenting plan is not necessarily permanent. The terms of the plan can be altered if “a material change in circumstance” has occurred and if the proposed modification is in the best interest of the child. Examples may include one parent developing a drug addiction or abusing the children.
A parent must file a petition to start the PPP modification process. Once you establish the desired changes, send the paperwork to your former spouse. You can handle this personally or let the sheriff’s department take over. Regardless of how it occurs, you must have proof that the papers were served; so, sending them via standard mail is not an option.
The next step is to attend hearings, which will determine whether the material change occurred. This part requires the parent requesting the modification to prove that circumstances have changed and that the adjustments are necessary. Further action cannot happen until the burden of proof is final.
After hearing the evidence, the court will consider the legitimacy of the claims and what is in the best interest of the child. A diverse range of factors get consideration at this point, such as the child’s health, the parent’s job, their current living situation and schedules, et al. A judge will then rule whether to approve the motion for PPP modification.
Learn More About Your Rights to Visitation
Visitations can be a mutually beneficial experience for both parent and child. It is a time for parents, especially for ARPs, to reconnect and strengthen their relationship with their kids. Make sure your right to these visitations is secure with the assistance of a visitation attorney.
A visitation attorney from Landru & Azevedo will ensure your voice is heard during the establishment of visitation rights as well as during any potential modifications. We are your greatest advocate and will do everything in our power to guarantee access to your children. Call (865) 851-7050 to schedule an appointment at our Knoxville office and discover the difference we can make.