Nassau County Visitation Attorney
Counsel For Parents Seeking Child Visitation
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 establishes paternity. A non-custodial parent is entitled to visitation that is both meaningful and 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 the relationship.
- 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 child’s safety.
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 during visitation.
- 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 remain unsupervised.
- 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 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 consultation.