Under New York law, parents do not have to be married in order to be awarded
visitation rights. If the parents were not married at the time the child
was born, and the parents never signed an “Acknowledgment of Paternity,”
the father has no vested
custody or visitation rights.
He will only be entitled to custody and visitation rights if he legally
paternity. A non-custodial parent is entitled to visitation that is both
frequent . So long as the children have meaningful access to the non-custodial parent
and both parents agree to the schedule, the terms will typically be approved.
Alternatively, visitation can be as little as once per month, but most
judges will encourage visitation to occur more often. To speak with a
lawyer about your visitation rights, contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates,
P.C. at (516) 406-8381.
Types of Visitation
In accordance with parents’ ability to agree on the frequency of
visitation, parents can also agree, or secure a court order regarding
the manner of the visitation.
Some of the options available for visits include:
Supervised Visits: Depending on the specific terms, the parent must be supervised, and thus
not alone, while visiting with the child. If there is cause for concern
about the parent’s ability to interact properly with the child,
or if there has been a history of domestic violence, the court can select
a person to supervise these visits.
Therapeutic Supervised Visits: In order to improve upon parenting skills, a mental health professional
supervises the visits and can implement various techniques to strengthen
Neutral Location for Exchange: Parents can agree, or the court can order, the selection of a safe location
where parents meet to arrange an exchange for visitation with the child.
Some examples of this include a school, library, mall, police station,
or other neutral location.
Monitored Transition: The purpose of this is to have a third person present when the child goes
from one parent to the other for visitation. This is intended to ensure
the calmness of the transition for the child, and to further ensure the
Visitation is Separate from Child Support
Visitation rights are independent of
child support. Even if the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, visitation
cannot be withheld, unless the visitation would thereby place the children
in danger. Additionally, child support obligations are not lessened because
the custodial parent is refusing visitation and must be paid
regardless of whether visitation is actually taking place.
If the estranged parties are having problems with their current visitation
schedule, it is probably best to return to court in order to have the
order enforced or
modified. A custodial parent's effort to withhold visitation from the non-custodial
parent could potentially create a basis for a judge ordering a change
of the custody.
Visitation can be restricted or even denied if the court finds that allowing
regular visitation might endanger the child's physical, emotional
or moral health.
There are various reasons that supervised visitation might be in your child(ren)’s
best interest(s), and these include:
- A parent with a history of domestic violence, particularly toward the child
or custodial parent, as unsupervised visitations may allow the abusive
parent to continue to place the child in harm's way.
- An increased likelihood that a parent might attempt to abduct the child
- A parent with a history of mental illness if there is the potential for
the child to be harmed due to the parent’s condition if the visits
- A parent with a history of substance abuse if the condition is likely to
cause the parent to act in a manner that could be dangerous for the child.
In addition to parents being able to seek visitation, siblings, half-siblings and
grandparents can also apply for visitation. This does not necessarily mean that the
court will grant them. Additionally, absent extraordinary circumstances,
a parent is always entitled to custody over a non-parent. Such circumstances
include cases such as when the parent is unfit to care for a child.
Contact a Nassau County Divorce Attorney
The attorneys at Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. understand the
difficulties associated with splitting or dissolving a marriage when young
children are involved. We have represented a multitude of clients and
helped them obtain successful results during protracted custody and visitation battles.
Whether you are just beginning to contemplate arranging for visitation,
or are dissatisfied with your current order and seeking a
modification, our attorneys can help you through this difficult time. Contact our Nassau
County divorce lawyers at your earliest convenience to schedule an initial