Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Generally speaking, visitation or access is a privilege granted to a non-custodial parent. It is usually considered a privilege for the parent. Standard visitation in most states consists of alternating week-ends and some holidays.
Visitation is an archaic term that is gradually being replaced with parenting time. There is a growing reform movement in the United States to eliminate the concept of custody and replace it with the presumption of 50-50 parenting time, thus treating the father and mother as equal parents of the child(ren).
Parents (and in some jurisdictions grand-parents) frequently believe that they have a right to visitation or access; however, courts in several countries have used the subjective doctrine of the best interests of the child to deny parental or grandparental access to the child(ren). This is commonly found in cases when custody of the child(ren) is disputed and there is a history of interferrence with visitation. In such high conflict cases, there are often allegation of child abuse and/or domestic violence.
Many noncustodial parents have visitation orders that allow the child to visit with them without any supervision. These visits often take place away from the custodial residence. Often the non-custodial parent is granted overnight visitation, weekend visitation, or vacation visitation.
Parents may also share custody and may agree to allow visitation. In these situations a court order may not be needed, though sometimes it is obtained to forstall later disputes about what the parents had previously agreed to, and to allow the courts to have some oversight over the children (which they normally have under statute and under the parens patriae power).
A recent legal and political trend has developed in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries, known as 50-50 parenting. Under this system, there is no legal determination of custody and the rights of both parents to equal time with their child(ren) (and vice versa) are protected.
In Japan, there is no legal guarantee of visitation by a non-custodial parent. Despite this, courts do often grant visitation rights to a non-custodial parent of a divorce, or to the father of an unwed child, who by law is declared non-custodial by default. However, these court ordered visitations are often only for several hours once a month, and in some cases, only once a year. Further, courts will not enforce these visitation provisions when the custodial parent is not cooperative. Several groups are working to change related laws and provide more detailed information on these laws and alternatives:
Other usages of the word
In English history, a visitation was an official visit, usually for purposes of inspection, and the record of that visit. Visitations were made to establish the right of a person to bear arms, and are used today in genealogical research. These visit are usually titled according to the year they were made (e.g. Visitation of 1345), and the genealogical information contained in them is often erroneous.
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