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New York Child Visitation Modification

After a child custody matter is settled in a final decree of divorce or some other order that establishes custody and visitation, such an order can be modified. In some cases the parents agree to a change in the visitation schedule, while in other cases one parent wants a change and the other does. While it is important that a visitation arrangement is designed to make help ensure that both parents have meaningful time with their children, the best interests of the child is always the paramount consideration when a court decides whether a modification should be approved. If you are in need of a family lawyer because you are concerned about potential changes to your visitation arrangement it is important that you contact an experienced New York child visitation modification lawyer who will explain to you your legal options related to visitation as well as child support and any other issues related to your child custody case.

Visitation in New York

There are many possible visitation arrangements. Such arrangements can be made privately between the parents, or they can be made through the court. With a private agreement it is not necessary to have a court award child visitation rights if the parents can come to an agreement prior to proceedings. If the parents are unable to come to a custody and visitation agreement on their own, the court will make a determination as to which parent is awarded physical custody and which parent is awarded visitation. Visitation will not be awarded if there is a showing that visitation with the noncustodial parent would be detrimental to the child. For example, if there is evidence that the noncustodial parents has abused or neglected the child, the noncustodial parent may not be awarded visitation. The visitation awarded is usually issued at the same time that the custody order is issued. The visitation order will state the days and times the noncustodial parent can visit the child.

Modifying a visitation agreement

If one parent wants to change a court ordered visitation arrangement and the other parent does not, then the parent wanting to make the change must file a motion with the court requesting a change. In order for the court to order a modification, there must be a showing of a substantial change in circumstances such as:

  • Geographic change. If one parent moves out of the area, a change in custody or visitation may be appropriate in order to cause as little disruption in the child’s life as possible. If the custodial parent is planning to leave the area and the court feels that it is in the best interests of the child to stay in the area, the court may change the custody agreement. In such a case the court my give the parent who is staying in the area physical custody and give the other parent visitation.
  • Lifestyle change. Lifestyle changes such as a change in work schedule of a parent, or a parent begins to drink heavily, may be a reason for a modification in the custody or visitation arrangement.

While there may a number of factors that a court may consider when deciding whether or not to modify a visitation order, ultimately the court will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.


In Kashif v. Lataya KK., 99 A.D.3d 1075 (N.Y. App. Div., 2012), the child’s mother was given custody and the father visitation. The father requested a modification of the visitation order so that he could spend more time with the child. The father had asked the mother to give him more time with the child and she refused. The court denied the father’s petition because the father did not demonstrate a change in circumstance as required by law. As long as the mother was not interfering with the father’s court-ordered visitation, the fact that she refuses to allow him more time is not enough for a visitation modification

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you feel that your child visitation arrangement need to be changed, or if the other parent of your child wants to change the visitation or custody arrangement, the staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has the experience to provide you with the representation that you need. We have years of experience successfully representing clients who have custody, visitation, support and other family law issues. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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