Child Visitation in Maine
When parents are divorced or living apart, they have to come to an agreement on how their child's time will be divided between them. This is called parental rights and responsibilities or child custody. If parents cannot reach a custody agreement that they are both happy with, they may petition the court to make a ruling for them. The court always works to determine what solution would be in the child's best interests. A child custody determination made by the State of Maine, it is binding and further legal proceedings will be needed in order to have it altered.
When a child custody agreement is made, one parent is usually granted primary residence and the other visitation. Primary residence means the home where the child will live most of the time. This does not mean that the other parent will not be granted responsibilities and the ability to make decisions for the child. They will, however, have to obey the visitation schedule in order to see their child.
Maine Visitation Laws
Under Maine law, both parents have an equal right to guardianship of their child. The decision to grant primary residence and visitation is made by the court when they feel it would benefit the child the most. In some case, parents will be able to split custody equally.
For the most part, a parent is free to spend their visitation time however they please. The only exceptions are when the court feels the parent has shown some reason that the child may be unsafe in certain circumstances. For example, section 1653(6) states that in cases where the parent has had a history of domestic violence, the court may order that parent-child contact:
- Be supervised Involve exchanging the child in a protected setting
- Prohibit overnight visitation
- Require the parents to abstain from possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs
- Be subject to any other condition that would keep the child safe
Additionally, orders may be given during visitation to a household in which a sex offender resides in order to make sure that the child's safety and well-being is looked after at all times.
Violating Visitation Orders in Maine
One common issue with visitation arises when the parent with primary custody is late or refuses to hand over the child during the other parent's visitation. If the parental rights and responsibilities agreement is not adhered to by one parent, the other may petition the court for a hearing to deal with the noncompliance. If the court decides that one parent has violated the order they may find them in contempt and may:
- Make the order more specific as to the obligations of each parent
- Order additional visitation be provided to replace that visitation which was denied
- Fine the noncomplying parent $100
In addition to parent visitation, grandparents have certain visitation rights as well. Maine law, section 1803 gives grandparents the right to seek visitation under certain circumstances.
Maine Child Custody Lawyer
If you are facing a child custody issue or trying to get more visitation with your child, call our office to find out more about your rights. A Maine divorce attorney from WTB Law can help you get the results you want.