Modification of Visitation Schedule Overruled – Divorce Lawyer in Farmingdale

A Long Island Family Law Attorney said this appeal was made by petitioner-father as the result of a visitation proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6.  The Family Court ordered the modification of a visitation order which would permit the respondent-mother to travel with the subject child outside of the United States on vacation and to reduce the father’s alternating weekend visitation with the child from Friday 6:00pm until Sunday 6:00pm to Friday 6:00pm until Saturday 8:00pm when the child had school the following Monday.

A Long Island Family Law Attorney said the circumstances surrounding the visitation are as follows.  The subject child would travel on a bus between the mother’s home in Farmingdale, NY and the father’s home in Far Rockaway, Queens County.  On Sundays the child would accompany the father to church spending several hours there before meeting the mother at the drop-off location.  The mother testified that when the child would return to her house on Sunday evenings, the child is tired and has difficulty waking up and going to school on Monday.  The child had also requested, through her attorney, that the father’s visits be limited to one overnight per weekend in order to have time to complete her homework on Sunday.

 The Family Court modified the visitation order by reducing the allotted time of the father’s visitation and allowed the mother to take the child out of the United States for a vacation.  The Appellate Division described the standard which allows the modification upon a showing that a sufficient change in circumstances has occurred since the entry of the prior order, such that modification is warranted to further the child’s best interests.  The Court goes on stating that “the best interests of the child lie in being nurtured and guided by both parents.”

A Long Island Family Lawyer said applying the facts the Appellate Division deleted the provision of the order reducing the father’s visitation.  The mother’s reasoning for the reduction was that the child was so tired and did not have sufficient time to complete her homework on Sunday.  However, the Appellate Division found that even assuming the child is tired at that point in the day or the volume of homework causes her to sacrifice time for sleep there are alternatives aside from reducing the child’s time with the father.  An example is completing the homework while with the father.  The Appellate Division addresses the child’s wishes, and while worthy considerable weight it is not determinable and the Court found it to not be in the best interest of the child.

The provision in the order allowing the mother to travel abroad with the child outside the United States on vacation was upheld.  The child would travel to El Salvador, the mother’s country of origin and where two of the child’s half-siblings live.  The mother showed it was in the best interests of the child.

Visitation rights by a non-custodial parent are very important to the development of a meaningful, nurturing relationship between the child and parent.  It is in the best interests of the child to be nurtured and guided by both parents.  If you are contemplating divorce and have children seek out a Family Law Attorney like the Best of Long Island’s Simonetti & Associates, to learn about your rights.