Visitation Rights of Divorced Parents
The issue of child custody comes into question after the judicial separation or divorce of the child’s parents. There are various laws governing the custody of the child. The court vests the power to decide on whom the custody of the child will be vested, keeping the child’s best interests in mind. The parent granted custodial rights is responsible for the child’s welfare. The other parent (noncustodial parent) is provided with visitation rights if the courts deem fit.
Visitation rights are an important part of the parental relationship. Parents have the right to visit their children, even if they do not have physical or legal custody. Visitation rights are established by state laws and court orders, and can vary from state to state.
Visitation rights can be established in a variety of ways. In some cases, parents may come to an agreement on visitation rights through mediation or negotiation. In other cases, the court may order a specific visitation schedule. In all cases, the court will consider the best interests of the child when deciding on a visitation schedule.
In the case, Paul Mohinder Gahun vs State Of Nct Of Delhi ,2004, a competent court in the State of Michigan, USA had dissolved the marriage between the parties and granted custody and control of the minor child born out of the wedlock to the petitioner wife. Taking advantage of the visitation rights granted to him, the father of the child had picked up the minor from the school and secretly left the United States of America for India. Hence, visitation rights should be granted cautiously by the Court, as to not rish the safety of said child(s).
Neetu vs Nitin Jakhad, 2021, further elaborated that. “It is only in extreme circumstances that one parent should be denied contact with the child. Reasons must be assigned if one parent is to be denied any visitation rights or contact with the child. Courts dealing with the custody matters must while deciding issues of custody clearly define the nature, manner and specifics of the visitation rights.”
Anjali Kapoor (Smt) v. Rajiv Baijal, 2009, emphasized on placing the welfare of the child with utmost importance and taking a decision in accordance with the best interest of the child. Hon’ble Supreme Court has categorically declared the law that in a battle for custody of the child, “Court should see what would best serve the welfare and interest of the child, which is the soul and predominant criteria and not the legal rights of the warring parents.”
Yashita Sahu v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 , declared that the child is the victim in custody battles. In this fight of egos and increasing acrimonious battles and litigations between two spouses, our experience shows that more often than not, the parents who otherwise love their child, present a picture as if the other spouse is a villain and he or she alone is entitled to the custody of the child. The court must therefore be very wary of what is said by each of the spouses.
Visitation rights are not absolute. Visitation rights can be suspended or revoked if a parent is found to be a danger to the child. Visitation rights can also be suspended or revoked if a parent fails to comply with the visitation schedule or if a parent fails to pay child support.
Visitation rights are an important part of the parent-child relationship. Parents should be aware of their visitation rights and make sure that they comply with any court orders or agreements, and that visitation rights can be modified if the circumstances change.
If the parent having custody files a complaint or requests the court to refuse the rights of a noncustodial partner, the court may give so on the cause of the objection. The court will call for a hearing after proving that the noncustodial parent is not fit to get visitation rights due to his vicious nature towards the child or if they intend to affect the child immorally.
Written by Parthvi Patel, student at United World School of Law.