Parents who have a child together, however, do not reside jointly in the same household or are no longer married, often choose to create a parenting plan that outlines the child visitation rights of each parent. Regardless of whether or not the child’s natural parents live together, parental responsibilities continue to exist. Children need the love, support and relationship of both parents in order develop in a healthy manner. For these reasons and to ease the potential stress of regulating visitation, visitation plans can be very beneficial to all parties involved. A plan may also include the visitation rights of grandparents if applicable and necessary. In Kansas, the term visitation is also used interchangeably with “access” and is the right of a non-residential parent to spend time with their child.
How Visitation Works in Kansas
If the couple can mutually agree to the visitation parameters, the Court may order “reasonable” visitation, which leaves it to the parental parties’ discretion. Reasonable visitation involves the ability to see a child a reasonable amount of times under agreeable circumstances after giving sufficient notice to the residential parent. Oftentimes parties cannot agree on reasonable visitation, or there is an ongoing paternity issue, or a divorce is still in process. In these circumstances, a petition may need to be filed in order for the judge to make an order or modification while issues are still pending. Parties who are not in compliance with the existing or modified order may be held in contempt by the Court.
Parent and Non-parent Child Visitation
Once a divorce is finalized in Kansas, the issue of non-parent visitation is addressed and decided upon based on the child’s best interest. Stepparents and grandparents may be awarded visitation rights if certain criteria are met and the Court feels it would be a benefit to the child’s well-being. On the other hand, a parent may be denied visitation if the Court feels it would be detrimental to the child’s well-being. If there are instances of child abuse a court may prohibit or restrict visitation or require supervision by an approved third party.
Kansas law also allows grandparents to petition and request visitation rights if evidence and testimony can show that a substantial relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild already and continuously exists. The decision of whether or not to grant a visitation order lies in the discretion of the judge. However, if a child has been legally adopted by a third party, or when the child of the grandparents’ parental rights have been terminated, the grandparents may not have a right to visitation.
How a Kansas Family Attorney Can Help You With Child Visitation
Whether you are a parent, stepparent or grandparent of a child you care for and wish to gain visitation rights, our law firm can help. Kansas Guardianship Attorney Tom McDowell is a trusted Kansas Family Lawyer with decades of experience who can help you with your family’s visitation needs and reach an agreeable solution. Call McDowell Chartered Legal Services today at (316) 633-4322 to see how we can help you obtain visitation rights.