Divorce can be a heart-wrenching process for families. This can be case for both biological and stepparents. A stepparent and child can build a strong relationship, especially over a number of years. There are many decisions that need to be made in the process of a divorce including financial decisions and division of property. Child custody is another issue which can become more complex when a stepparent relationship is involved. When the marriage ends, both the stepparent and child may wish to continue to the relationship. Often, the stepparent has been very involved in raising the child. Fortunately, a stepparent can work with family law court in many cases to establish visitation with the child or children.
Many family law courts recognize the importance of the relationships that develop between stepparents and their stepchildren. Family law courts in many states have provisions for visitation between children and stepparents. If you are facing a divorce and have relationships with a stepchild or stepchildren, you should work with an attorney. It can be difficult to get visitation because a family law court will seriously consider what the natural parents prefer.
There are a variety of issues the family law court will consider when it comes to establishing stepparent visitation. One is how involved the stepparent is in the child’s life. Also, how long was the stepparent a part of the child’s life? Was it a short-term or a long-term relationship? What about the emotional factor? How emotionally attached are the child and the stepparent? Is the stepparent is providing financial support for the child? How much? What about emotional harm to the child? Will cutting out visitation hurt the child?
What if you have established visitation with your stepchild but would like to increase the amount of time? This can be more difficult than the initial process of establishing visitation through the family law court. The family law court will consider a variety of factors in these cases. As always, the best interests of the child or children are the first consideration when modifying a visitation order. Strong consideration will be given to the biological parent’s wishes so this can make the process difficult.
Parental visitation rights are protected in Arizona by a number of laws. These laws state that a parent has a right to have a relationship with their child or children under any type of custody agreement. The noncustodial parent has a right to visit his or her child under Arizona law. In most cases, it is beneficial for the child to have a relationship with both parents. Unfortunately, there are some situations when the child’s safety needs to be protected.
If you feel that the other parent’s visitation rights should be suspended, you should immediately consult with a family law attorney. These situations are complex and you will need to prove that the child needs to be protected. A family law attorney can explain the various situations in which visitation rights are typically terminated. The attorney can also evaluate your particular situation and help you decide how to proceed.
Terminating visitation rights is not a simple process. Courts typically only terminate visitation rights in particular situations. There has to be a demonstrable threat to the child’s well-being and safety. Some of the reasons include sexual abuse, physical abuse, assault, parental alcohol abuse, parental drug abuse, abandonment and other extreme situations. Sometimes, a child psychologist or counselor will need to provide an evaluation of the situation to back up claims that the child’s safety is threatened. A family law attorney can advise you on this process.
Some parents do not make a concerted effort to visit their children on a regular basis, even if they have established visitation rights. Others don’t provide child support in the agreed-upon manner. Unfortunately, visitation rights cannot be terminated in these situations. However, a family law attorney can help you address financial support issues through other avenues.
Keep in mind that termination of visitation rights is not permanent. The other parent can file to have visitation rights reinstated if the parent can provide an appropriate environment for the child. In these cases, you’ll want to consult your family law attorney to manage these situations. You may be ready to allow visitation again. It may be possible to limit visitation to supervised situations, depending on the circumstances. A family law attorney can help you navigate these circumstances.