Complete Topic List

What Are My Parenting Time (Formerly Known As Visitation) Rights?

What Is The Primary Purpose Of Parenting Time?

Parenting time promotes the best interest of children, not the wishes or desires of the parent.  It is important for the child to maintain a parent-child relationship with the non-custodial parent, unless the court finds that parenting time is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health.

What Is A Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a written plan describing each parent’s rights and responsibilities.  North Dakota law requires parents involved in a legal dispute regarding residential responsibility (formerly known as custody) to create their own parenting plan that will direct them in their efforts to maintain a parent-child relationship beneficial to the child.  This plan is intended to protect the children’s best interests and helps parents clarify parental authority and responsibility, set up parenting time, reduce parental conflict, and prevent the necessity of future court action.

What Is A Typical Parenting Time Schedule?

 When parental maturity, personality, and communication skills are adequate, the ideal arrangement is reasonable parenting time with the other parent on reasonable notice, since that provides the greatest flexibility.  A good arrangement is a detailed parenting plan made by the parents to fit their particular needs and, more importantly, the needs of the individual child. For most parents, this model should be considered as only a minimum direction for interaction with the children.

If the parties cannot agree on parenting time through the parenting plan, a court will decide

the parenting time schedule to be used by the parties, which may include the following: 

1. Alternating weekends, for example from  Friday at 5:00 p.m. to Sunday at 5:00 p.m.;

2. Alternating holidays; and/or

3. Extended summer parenting time, usually two to six weeks.

The parenting time schedule depends on the age of the child, amount of contact the child had with the non-custodial parent, and distance that parent lives from the child. 

Supervised parenting time is generally implemented by courts when the court has concerns about the safety of the children and/or the ability of the non-custodial parent.  Supervised parenting time generally takes place in the presence of a third party.  Whenever possible, parenting time centers should be used. 

All arrangements for parenting time are made by the parties themselves.

What If I'm Being Denied Parenting Time With My Child?

You should keep track of the dates you are denied parenting time and the reason you are denied.  If denied parenting time, you should always ask for a date for a makeup visit.  If you are denied parenting time with any frequency, consider calling an attorney for help in enforcing your right to parenting time. 

When Can I Deny Parenting Time?

Denying parenting time is only justified when there is evidence that parenting time is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health, such as bruises, not giving medication, evidence of domestic violence or sexual abuse by the non-custodial parent.

The non-custodial parent is entitled to parenting time with the child regardless of whether child support payments are current.  If parenting time is denied, the custodial parent should ALWAYS offer the non-custodial parent an alternate or makeup time for parenting time.

What Happens If The Other Parent Does Not Comply?

Neither parenting time nor child support is to be withheld because of either parent's failure to comply with a court order. Only the Court may enter sanctions for non-compliance. Children have a right both to support and to parenting time, neither of which is dependent upon the other.

May The Custodial Parent Move With The Child?

A custodial parent may not change the residence of a child to another state except upon order of the court or with written consent of the non-custodial parent.

These requirements do not apply if: 

  • The non-custodial parent has had no contact with the child for a period of at least one year; or
     
  • The non-custodial parent has moved to another state and lives more than fifty miles from the child.

Do Grandparents Have Parenting Time Rights?

No. However, Grandparents may seek reasonable parenting time  through the court.  A court may grant parenting time upon a finding that parenting time would be in the best interest of the child and would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.



Note: The 2009 North Dakota Legislature changed traditional legal terms such as custody and visitation to residential responsibility and parenting time.

 

Disclaimer:  This information is not legal advice.  If you have a legal problem, you should talk to a lawyer and ask for advice about your options.

July 2011

N.D.C.C Chapter 14-07