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How to Gain Visitation Rights to See Your Child

June 2024


Ed Shea


When parents separate or divorce, coming to agreements about child custody and securing visitation rights is often highly challenging. If you are a non-custodial parent seeking meaningful time with your children, there are proactive steps you can take to make your best case for how to get visitation rights.

Mutual Visitation Agreement

The custodial parent will ideally agree to reasonable visitation terms without court intervention. A signed, written agreement should outline a visitation schedule, decision-making authority, transportation plans, and more.

If you cannot reach an agreement independently, consider mediation. A mediator can facilitate compromise and help draft agreement language.

Consult an Attorney to Understand the Legal Process

Gaining court-approved visitation often requires navigating complex legal procedures. An attorney can assess your situation, explain state laws, help file paperwork, represent you in court, and more.

Petition the Court for Formal Visitation Terms

To bring the matter before a judge, complete and submit a petition documenting your relationship to the child and specifying your requested visitation schedule. Provide evidence that visitation is in the child's best interests.

You must formally serve the petition on the custodial parent within 30 days. They then have 30 days to respond, agree to, or contest your visitation request.

Present Your Case at the Court Hearing

The judge will determine appropriate terms after a hearing if the custodial parent contests visitation. Use this hearing to demonstrate through evidence and testimony why visitation aligns with the child's interests.

Judges may consider factors like your financial stability, safe home environment, and existing relationship with the child when making determinations. Offer concrete details on your visitation plan.

Comply With Any Court Orders

Before finalizing visitation rights, judges may impose additional requirements on you, such as a custody evaluation. Make sure to fully comply with any requests to demonstrate your capability as a parent.

Uphold Your Court-Approved Visitation Terms

Once granted visitation privileges, strictly follow the court-ordered terms to avoid violations. Document all visitations and immediately notify the court of any noncompliance by either party. Over time, petition for increased visitation if appropriate.

Take the First Step in Securing Your Visitation Rights

The key legal step is prioritizing the child's best interests. If you need an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through petitioning the court for visitation rights, contact Ed Shea of Shea Law. With over 30 years of handling complex custody disputes, Ed has the knowledge and resources to represent your interests, so contact him today to schedule a consultation.