Why do I need a court order for visitation?

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Unmarried Couples on Friday, August 7, 2015.

It’s much more common in today’s society for unmarried couples to have children together than in decades past. The Florida courts recognize that it is in the best interests of the children to see and have a relationship with both parents, even if the parents were never married. Establishing paternity is always the first priority in these cases, and this is true even if the mother has acknowledged that the man is the child’s father. Until paternity has been legally declared, there can be no other rulings as far as custody or visitation.

Once paternity has been established, the parents can move forward to the next step and begin considering the options for custody and visitation. Getting court-ordered visitation doesn’t have to be an antagonistic battle with your ex. Setting up a mutually agreeable custody arrangement or visitation schedule and presenting it to the courts for approval is generally quicker, easier and less stressful than fighting over it in court.

These agreements involve having civil, respectful communications with your ex about both of your needs and then compromising to establish an agreement that works for both of you and is in the best interests of the child. However, if communication stalls or the couple has a fallout, it can mean that one parent is alienated from the child’s life. This is one reason why it’s important to have something official that is ordered through the courts to fall back on.

If you have questions about working out a custody or visitation arrangement with your ex, a family law attorney can help you understand what your options are for the agreement and how to protect your parental rights.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers,” accessed Aug. 07, 2015