Custody cases cover many important issues affecting the child, one of which is visitation rights and schedules. Here are things you should know about visitation guidelines in North Carolina.
Generally, parents agree on a visitation schedule which forms part of the parenting plan. The schedule is subject to the approval of the court. While the final visitation schedule will still be based on unique factors surrounding the child custody case, North Carolina has set a minimum parenting time, usually every other weekend and one weeknight per week. The courts can issue more time but not less than the minimum, except in certain situations.
Supervised or no visitation
If there are circumstances that may pose a risk to the child’s safety, the courts may award supervised visitation. These circumstances may include substance abuse, abusive behavior and other actions that may endanger the child physically or emotionally. In North Carolina, there are assigned centers where supervised visitations are conducted.
While the courts rarely cut off complete contact between the child and the noncustodial parent, extreme cases may lead to the court denying visitation. However, this is not permanent. If the said parent can prove that they no longer pose a danger to the child, then the court may modify the visitation details.
Visitation rights of nonparents
If the court deems it appropriate, it may award visitation rights to the child’s grandparents. The court usually considers the existing relationship between the child and the grandparents. However, the award is not automatic and the grandparents must file a petition before the court considers their request for visitation. Moreover, other involved individuals must provide evidence upon the petition that they have a significant relationship with the child.
While family courts follow guidelines set by law, they still take the child’s best interest as the primary determining factor for child custody and visitation rights.