SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ON VISITATION

June 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • The visitation awarded to the non-custodial parent should be such as will foster a positive and harmonious relationship between parent and child.  Wood v. Wood, 579 So.2d 1271, 1273 (Miss. 1991).
  • The chancellor has broad discretion in fashioning visitation, keeping in mind the best interest of the child, the rights of the non-custodial parent, and the need to maintain a healthy, loving relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child.  Harrington v. Harrington, 648 So.2d 543, 545 (Miss. 1994).
  • The chancellor should specify the terms for visitation.  Lauro v. Lauro, 924 So.2d 584, 591 (Miss. 2006).  The visitation rights should be defined and fixed so as to avoid chaos.  Brown v. Gillespie, 465 So.2d 1046, 1049 (Miss. 1985).
  • Overnight visitation is the rule, not the exception.  Cox v. Moulds, 490 So.2d 866, 870 (Miss. 1986).  The non-custodial parent is presumptively entitled during reasonable times to overnight visitation with the child.  Harrington at 545.
  • The chancellor may place restrictions on visitation in circumstances where there is “an appreciable danger of hazard cognizble in our law.”  Newsom v. Newsom, 557 So.2d 511, 517 (Miss. 1990).  Any restriction must be shown to be necessary to avoid harm to the child.  Dunn v. Dunn, 609 So.2d 1277, 1286 (Miss. 1992); Harrington, at 545; and Howell v. Turnage (Miss. App. 2011), at ¶ 16.  A post discussing Howell v. Turnage is here.
  • In order to modify visitation, all that needs to be shown is that the prior order for visitation is not working, and that modification is in the best interest of the children.  Suess v. Suess, 718 So.2d 1126, 1130 (Miss. App.  1998).

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