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 December 26, 2014 |

Non-custodial parents in Baton Rouge may have difficulties spending time with their children. The Louisiana Access and Visitation Program tries to help non-custodial parents gain access through visitations. The issue can be a sensitive one, particularly when parents part ways on less than agreeable terms.

The program is free and provides the services of an attorney to help non-custodial parents gain visitation rights. The Access and Visitation Program assists applicants with no current or past visitation orders in place. The non-custodial parent also must have an active case with Child Support Enforcement division.

Non-custodial parents with records of domestic violence or child abuse do not qualify. Attorneys outside the program advise parents who fall in this category. Judges feel strongly about parent-child ties and sometimes approve supervised visitations for parents with abuse histories.

Access and Visitation lawyers attempt to help parents reach voluntary visitation agreements. This can be hard to do, when a custodial parent tries to block access or refuses to participate and negotiate. When terms cannot be reached otherwise, the attorney then places a request with the court for a visitation order.

Why does the state get involved in these matters? The main concern of Louisiana courts in every child support and custody dispute is a child’s well-being. Research has shown children respond positively when both parents — even separated and divorced parents — share child-rearing responsibilities.

The attorney assigned to help you with visitation issues may not help parents with custody disputes. Lawyers in the Access and Visitation Program concentrate on the best interests of children, the way judges do. You may seek legal advice about a custody dispute with any family law attorney outside the program.

Custody and visitation terms can be worked out simultaneously as part of a divorce agreement. It may be helpful to consult privately with an attorney, before seeking visitation relief through the state program.

Source: State of Louisiana, Department of Children & Family Services, “Child Support Enforcement Access and Visitation” Dec. 25, 2014

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