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What are the visitation rights for parents?

Visitation rights are different than child custody rights for parents in Louisiana. Determining who is around the child, nonetheless, is also very significant. Visitation is the time that a parent may spend with the child. Custody is the right to make important decisions about education, health and other important matters in the child's life, even if the child lives somewhere else.

Mothers and fathers have equal visitation rights. Courts try to assure that each parent may spend enough time with their children so that they can continue their relationship. Even though parents can usually decide who may be around their children, courts may grant limited visitation rights to grandparents under certain circumstances.

Courts usually order a child to spend most of their time with one parent. Stability in the child's life is an important consideration. Judges typically designate specific days for visitation, such as weekends or school vacations. When a parent has a busy or changing schedule, courts may grant reasonable and liberal visitation to a parent. When this occurs, parents must cooperate on scheduling visits.

Courts can order shared custody. This is a joint custody arrangement in which children spend roughly half of their time with each parent. This is often divided into longer blocks of time, such as a week.

Visitation rights may be restricted when a parent abuses a child or has a substance abuse or other problem that hampers the proper care of the children. When this occurs, a judge may allow supervised visitation with the presence of another individual or require a parent to complete counseling.

Visitation is not related to payment of child support. A parent cannot deny visitation rights to a parent who is behind with support payments. Other legal penalties, such as fines, professional license suspension and even imprisonment, can be imposed for violating a child support order.

A court order for custody or visitation contains a parent's custody rights and visitation times. Without a court order, a parent has almost no remedies if the other parent restricts visitation. Courts and police can also enforce the terms of these orders.

Source: Louisiana LawHelp.org, "Visitation rights for parents: Frequently asked questions (including difference between visitation and custody)," Accessed May 7, 2018

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