New York Visitation Lawyer

While child custody cases are often settled easily and amicably, on other occasions custody issues can be quite contentious. Regardless of how the parents feel about each other, when making decisions about custody, a court will do what is in the best interests of the children involved. A custody arrangement often involves one parent having physical custody and the other parent being awarded visitation. The goal of custody and visitation arrangements is for both parents to have meaningful roles in the children’s lives and for the custody arrangement not to be too disruptive to the children’s lives. If you are in need of a family lawyer because you are concerned about you visitation arrangement it is important that you contact an experienced New York visitation 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.

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. In many cases child visitation rights are settled out of court. The agreement is then documented in a custody and visitation agreement.

Court intervention. If the parents are unable to come to a custody agreement on their own, the court will make a determination as to which parent is awarded physical custody. Typically the other 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.

Non-parent visitation. In New York parents are not the only ones who can be granted visitation. Grandparents, siblings, and step-siblings can also petition for visitation. Grandparents and other non-parent relatives who have a preexisting and substantial relationship with the child may be granted visitation as the courts have determined that it is in the best interest of the child for such positive relationships to continue. However, if the custodial parent is against the non-parent visitation, the presumption is that the custodial parent’s decision is in the best interests of the child. In such cases in order for non-parent visitation to be granted the party seeking visitation must rebut the presumption that visitation should not be granted.

Types of visitation

Depending on the specific facts of each custody case, there are a number of different types of visitation that can be awarded, including unsupervised, supervised, therapeutic supervised, neutral place of exchange, and monitored transition.

Unsupervised visitation. Unsupervised visitation is the most common visitation type. Typically parents who have unsupervised visitation do what they choose during their time with the children. For example, they can take them to their home or on a trip.

Supervised visitation. If there is evidence that the non-custodial parent abused or neglected the children, the parent may be awarded visitation, but the court may order that another adult be present. The court can appoint the person who will supervise the visitation or the court may allow the non-custodial parent to choose the adult who will supervise the visitation.

Therapeutic supervised visitation. Therapeutic supervised visited may be ordered when there is a need for improving the non-custodial parenting skills. For example, in Goldfarb v. Szabo, 13 N.Y.S.3d 247 (N.Y. App. Div., 2015), the father was awarded legal and physical custody of the child. Because the mother had repeatedly made unfounded allegations against the father of sexual abuse, and because she continually attempted to undermine the father’s ability to maintain a relationship with the child, the Family Court ordered the mother to have therapeutic supervised visitation.

Neutral place exchange. When the parents have a contentious relationship, the court may determine that a neutral place of exchange is necessary. This means that the child is turned over to the other parent for visitation at a safe place that would involve little interaction between the parents. Examples of neutral places include a police station, school or library.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Child custody cases can be contentious. However, non-custodial parents have the right to spend time with their children. Visitation options are available to suit specific situations. To ensure that your rights are protected it is important that you have experienced representation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients who have custody and visitation issues. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) 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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