Parental Visitation Fact Sheet
If the parents are married:
Courts must include a specific schedule for parenting time which insures frequent and continuing contact in a final order ending a marriage, unless the court determines that it would not be in the child’s best interest.
If the parents are not married:
A father seeking visitation must file a motion with the juvenile court [Domestic Relations Court in Summit County] seeking to establish visitation. Paternity must be established first. If paternity has not been established, fathers should contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency for assistance.
Factors to determine ‘best interest’ include:
- prior interaction of the child with parents and relatives;
- geographical location of the parent’s residences;
- available time to parent;
- the child’s age;
- the child’s adjustment to home, school and community;
- the child’s wishes;
- the health and safety of child;
- the time available for the child to spend with siblings;
- the mental and physical health of all parties;
- any willful denial of visitation by a party;
- the wishes of a parent as to visitation by a grandparent or third party;
- any prior conviction or adjudication of abuse or neglect;
- and any other factor in the best interest of the child.
Courts have standard orders that establish companionship or visitation schedules for parents. Usually, the schedule is every other weekend, every other holiday and summer vacation. The standard schedule differs from court to court. Courts may have schedules based on the age of the child or the distance that must be traveled. Visitation may be limited if there are risk factors to the child. Parents who are in agreement can set a different schedule that meets their needs. Parents who cannot agree or who have other concerns should use the court’s standard order.
This article is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated May 2012.