Kansas Visitation Laws

By Wayne Thomas

Frequent and continuing contact between a child and both of his parents is of great importance after divorce. This contact is known as visitation in Kansas, and knowing what your rights are as a parent will help ensure your relationship with your child continues after divorce. However, in some cases, the courts will limit a child's contact with one or both parents to ensure the safety and welfare of the child.

Residential Custody

For practical reasons, and to reduce disruption in the child's life after divorce, a child often resides primarily with one parent in Kansas. The other parent typically has some overnights with the child, which might include weekends and holidays. In this case, both parents are said to have joint residential custody of the child. If parents live in close proximity and have an amicable and cooperative relationship, the court may be willing to grant what is known as a shared residential custody arrangement. This term means that both parents enjoy equal overnights or near equal blocks of time with the child.

Visitation Explained

Courts in Kansas also have the option of ordering sole residential custody to one parent. This is often the case when the other parent has either been absent from the child's life or has some mental illness preventing him from being able to adequately provide for the child's needs. Although the parent without custody does not have the child live with him, that parent is usually provided some access to his child through court-ordered visitation. In Kansas, the court can defer to the parents to work out a reasonable schedule for visitation, or a judge can fashion an order spelling out the terms for contact.

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Supervised Visition

In cases where the potential for harm to the child is great, such as if a parent has a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse, the court may deny that parent access completely or order supervised visitation. Supervised visitation means that contact with the child is done in the presence of another adult, such as a social worker or court officer.

Enforcing Visitation

Once a court has ordered that a parent have reasonable visitation rights, the other parent must respect these rights. If the parties cannot reach agreement regarding a schedule for contact, the court may order that the parties attempt to reach a resolution through mediation. If the residential parent refuses to abide by the agreement or court-ordered schedule, a judge can hold that person in contempt, which can result in loss of parenting rights as well as sanctions, such as paying the other parent's attorneys and cost of mediation.

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Laws for Custody Battles in Kansas
 

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An Example of a Child Custody Schedule

Continued contact with both parents after divorce is important to a child's development. Unless there has been substantiated abuse by one parent, most courts will allow the family to establish their own custody or visitation schedule. The most common child custody schedules take into account the child's school schedule, parents' work times and transportation issues.

Who Has the Right to Custody During Noncustodial Visitation?

Custody trumps visitation. It is never changed or altered simply because a child is visiting with her non-custodial parent. The rights of a parent who has sole legal custody, sole physical custody or both remain intact until and unless a court modifies them by issuing a new custody order. Whether a child sleeps over at a friend’s house, her grandparent’s house or her non-custodial parent’s house, the custodial parent still has custody during those times, according to the terms of the court order. However, this does not mean the custodial parent always has unilateral control over everything involving her child.

Parental Visitation Rights in New Jersey

Public policy in New Jersey holds that both parents should be regularly involved in their child's life. When one parent has sole custody of the child, the other parent is usually granted visitation. Even in cases where domestic violence or mental health issues are present, New Jersey offers supervised visitation programs to ensure children still have contact with both parents.

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