Liberal Visitation Rights

By Beverly Bird

"Liberal" is one of those terms in divorce law that has no quantifiable meaning. It applies to the custody terms of your decree, describing the visitation arrangement that either you or your spouse will have with your children, depending on which of you is the non-custodial parent.

"Liberal" is one of those terms in divorce law that has no quantifiable meaning. It applies to the custody terms of your decree, describing the visitation arrangement that either you or your spouse will have with your children, depending on which of you is the non-custodial parent.

It's All Up to You

If you and your spouse agree that you'll be the custodial parent and he'll have liberal visitation rights, the two of you must maintain a reasonably amicable relationship after divorce. It will also help if you're not a stickler for ironclad rules. The phrase "liberal visitation" works in lieu of a set visitation schedule. Your divorce decree will not state exactly when your spouse will have time with the children. Rather, you may get a phone call on Thursday telling you that he wants them after school the next day and that he's keeping them for the weekend. You're expected to accommodate these requests, at least most of the time. Judges generally will not order this type of visitation unless parents have demonstrated an ability to get along and work together during the divorce process.

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You May Have Nothing to Enforce

If you have problems post-divorce with your liberal visitation terms, you may be powerless to enforce a more reasonable routine unless you file a motion with the court to modify your decree. For example, if your decree includes a specific visitation schedule instead, and your ex is supposed to return your children by 7:00 p.m. on Sunday but never shows up, you can typically call the police to enforce the terms of your order. With liberal visitation, the law has nothing to enforce.

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Information About Visitation Rights

References

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How to Get an Emergency Court Order for Visitation Rights for a Father

In most cases, family court judges want you to have time with your children just as much as you do. Even if the court finds that for some reason you’re unfit for full custody, the judge will typically grant supervised visitation, allowing you to see your kids with a responsible, third party adult present. State courts are vested in maintaining the parent-child relationship, so if your soon-to-be ex is depriving you of visitation, all you really have to do is get into court to ask for an order.

Grounds for Denying Visitation Rights

Although state courts are increasingly moving toward joint custody arrangements after divorce, the old standard of one parent having physical custody and the other having visitation still exists. This is particularly true while your divorce is still pending and if one parent has moved out of the marital home – judges don't like to upset a child's status quo unnecessarily, so the parent who moves out might end up with visitation rather than joint custody until the divorce is final. Under some circumstances, a court might deny visitation, but a custodial parent can't do so on her own.

Facts on Child Support & Visitation Laws in Oklahoma

Oklahoma, like all states, uses the "best interests of the child" standard in making custody and visitation determinations. However, this standard can be quite vague and lead to different results in similar cases depending on the judge, lawyers and other factors not related to a child's best interests. Consequently, Oklahoma has developed a set of visitation recommendations according to age and parental circumstances designed to help judges make uniform decisions that benefit children. Oklahoma also has standard rules for child support that make it easier for parents to calculate the child support they will likely pay.

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