In Pennsylvania, both biological parents are, in most cases, entitled to have ongoing contact with their child. This can come in the form of physical custody of child, which can be shared between two parents, or which can be granted solely to one parent. When only one parent has physical custody of the child, the other biological parent can seek visitation with the child through a visitation agreement or a visitation order that will be determined by a Pennsylvania court.
WHO CAN SEEK VISITATION IN PENNSYLVANIA?
The biological parents of a child have a right to seek an enforceable visitation order with a child who is still a minor. Pennsylvania courts want both parents to remain involved in a child’s life, and will usually allow for at least some kind of visitation, even if the parent seeking visitation has not previously been allowed in the child’s life or where there are issues of parental unfitness, such as a criminal record or drug or alcohol problems.
Where there are questions about the safety of the child with the other parent, the court may order supervised visitation, which means a specified third party is required to be present during the visitation. While biological parents are typically the parties seeking visitation, Pennsylvania courts are willing to allow grandparents, step-parents, and other adults who have had a highly significant role in the child’s life to seek visitation.
If a father is seeking visitation with the child and the father’s name is not on the child’s birth certificate, it may be necessary for the father to seek a paternity order through the courts prior to obtaining visitation rights, and our attorneys can provide comprehensive guidance in this process.
When you work with our family law attorneys, we will take the steps necessary to create your Pennsylvania visitation agreement, which can include negotiating with the other parent (or other party) to create agreement terms which serve both your needs and the interests of the child, as well as memorializing the agreement in a legal document. The terms of a visitation agreement will include:
- A schedule for visitation, including holidays and vacation
- Whether the visitation will be unsupervised or supervised, and, if so, by whom
- The restrictions on the visitation, including locations and activities
- Procedures for dealing with failure to follow the terms of the agreement by either party
We will then present the completed visitation agreement to the applicable Pennsylvania court. So long as the agreement is in the best interests of the child, a Pennsylvania judge should approve the agreement. At that point, the agreement will become enforceable in court by both the custodial parent and the party granted visitation.
We also work with parties in modifying or enforcing visitation agreements, which can include expanding or tightening the scope of visitation or terminating them altogether.
COURT ORDERED VISITATION
If you are seeking visitation and the biological parent does not wish to allow visitation – or if another party is seeking visitation on terms that you do not think are best for your child – you may need to go to court to resolve the matter. A judge will again assess the situation and present an order granting or denying visitation based on the best interests of the child. Our attorneys represent all parties in visitation matters to seek outcomes that honor their interests.
VISITATION LAWYERS – THE MARTIN LAW FIRM, P.C.
At The Martin Law Firm, P.C., we assist parents with custody and visitation matters in a compassionate and efficient manner. Call us today for free case evaluation at 215-687-4053.