Legal Question in Family Law in Virginia

Limited Visitation

I have a two-year-old daughter. Her father and I never married and we have joint legal custody. In my court order visitation is every other weekend and other times I deem suitable. The father does not have a driver's lecense (habitual offender) and his mother usually picks my daughter up. When it's his visitation weekend, he sees the child very little. He may spend two or three hours at most with her and she goes off with grandparents or aunt the rest of the time. This man has an alcohol/drug problem (which he does not admit to of course) and overnights and unsupervised visits are not an option. I have a real problem with the fact that my child is gone 8-9 hours at a time with them and only sees her dad 1-2 hours. I don't want to hurt the grandparents, but it makes me angry that they call it ''our'' visitation. Is it really ''their'' visitation or is it his and can I have the court order revised to state that if she's not with him, I have the option of not letting her go?

Asked on 8/16/01, 10:57 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Lisa Lane McDevitt McDevitt Law Office
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Re: Limited Visitation

You can petition the court to modify the visitation against the father to reduce the order to the amount of time he is actually seeing the child. However, the grandparents may then petition for grandparental visitation. Depending the facts of your case, they may or may not succeed on that petition. But keep in mind the grandparents may not petition (they need their own separate court order for visitation) because they may not realize they have the right to or they may not want to incur the legal expenses to do so. In that case you'd have a pretty darn good chance of reducing his visitation as long as you can indeed show that he spends very little time with the child.

If you have any questions, give me a call at 703-968-3974.

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Answered on 8/22/01, 5:48 pm
Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Limited Visitation

You can always petition the court to have the terms of visatation revised. However, in this case, I seriously doubt that the court would revise the visatation merely because "you have a

real problem" with the child spending most of the time with its grandparents rather than with its father. The court might well conclude that there's nothing wrong in this arrangement, and, that in fact, it might well be in the child's best interests. MH

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Answered on 8/17/01, 10:18 am

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