ATA NBTA | The National Board of Trial Advocacy Association of Trial Lawyers of America Virginia Trial Lawyers Association National Asociation of Distinguished Counsel | Nation's Top One Percent | NADC AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF FAMILY ATTORNEYS

How are visitation rights handled in Fairfax County?

When a couple in Fairfax County shares a child and chooses to end their relationship together, it's important that the parents have a relationship with the child if both are fit to do so. It is in the child's best interests to have influence from both parents. But, the relationship with children can be damaged beyond repair if there are constant disagreements over child custody and visitation rights. Oftentimes it is necessary to get more information when it comes to establishing, enforcing and agreeing to visitation rights.

The agreement for visitation can be done on a formal basis, with designated days and times on which the child will spend time with the non-custodial parent. It can also be a simple agreement between the parents that one parent will have the child at a certain time and the other will have the child at another time. If the parents have a stable relationship, the informal way of agreeing to visitation can work. If, however, there is any disagreement, then it might be preferable to have a set agreement to avoid any disputes in which the child can be placed in the middle. That is one of the worst things that can happen.

The court is obligated to adhere to what is in the best interests of the child. Parents might need to complete educational courses to make certain they have the proper skills to care for the child and deal with separations and divorces. It doesn't necessarily have to be a biological parent attending these seminars, as an adoptive parent can also attend.

The court has discretion in determining whether a parent who is seeking visitation can have that request granted. If, for example, there is desertion, abandonment or a failure to properly support the child, the court might deem the parent unfit. Parents might also be subject to psychological evaluations to come to a reasonable determination.

Source: fairfaxcounty.gov, " Visitation," accessed on Mar. 3, 2015