Is there a difference between parental rights and responsibilities and visitation?
Yes. Visitation lets a parent visit with his/her child, but the parent doesn’t have the right to make major decisions about the child’s wellbeing. When the judge awards sole parental rights and responsibilities to one parent, the other parent will often get visitation rights. In cases where there has been domestic violence, the judge may allow the abusive parent visitation if safety precautions are taken. For example, the judge may order the visit to be supervised by another family member, or that the visit take place at a counselor’s office.1
1 M.R.S.A. 19-A § 1653(6)(b)