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Simonetti & Associates, Nassau County Divorce Lawyer

Long Island Visitation Lawyer Explains Child Custody Laws in New York.


Protecting your right to a meaningful relationship with your children.


Like the rest of New York state, parents on Long Island who do not have physical custody of a child are usually entitled to frequent Visitation. If your ex-spouse has obstructed or denied this or if you reasonably believe that Visitation with the noncustodial parent is harmful to your children, Simonetti & Associates can help. We use every legal tool to protect your right to have a meaningful relationship with your children.


How does the court determine Visitation?


In a New York child custody dispute, Visitation is the default position that courts use when determining that one parent should get sole custody. The court presumes frequent, meaningful contact with the noncustodial parent is in the child’s best interest. Despite this, the custodial parent can use evidence to contradict this presumption. The judge may also consider the report of a forensic evaluator, usually a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker chosen by the court. The evaluator observes the family and uses a battery of psychological tests to determine and support their findings. The court can restrict or prevent visits if it believes that extreme conditions, such as reasonable suspicion of potential harm to the child, are happening.


What types of Visitation are available to noncustodial parents in New York?


When choosing the type of Visitation and how much access the noncustodial parent should receive, the courts will always consider what is in the children’s best interests. This will result in the type of Visitation such as:


  • Unsupervised Visitation: The parent can be with their child without having a third party present.
  • Supervised Visitation: Another adult, such as a court-appointed supervisor, must be present during the visit. Sometimes, the court allows the noncustodial parent to choose the person who supervises the visit. 
  • Therapeutic Supervised Visitation: A mental health professional acts as the visitation supervisor and helps to improve parenting skills.
  • A neutral place of exchange: If the parents share a history of explosive behavior that may include domestic violence, the court may order them to exchange the child in a neutral place.
  • Monitored exchange: A third party must be present when the child moves from one parent to the other to ensure the parents maintain a safe and calm demeanor.


Can a parent modify court-ordered Visitation?


Either parent can try to alter a visitation order by asking the court to add or remove restrictions. A parent with a troubled history who has taken serious steps toward rehabilitating their behavior may feel justified in approaching the court to adjust visitation terms. Another likely scenario is when parents agree to new terms. At this point, they can submit a signed modification agreement for the court’s approval. Another common issue is the effectiveness of an existing visitation order when either parent feels the other is failing to live up to the original terms.


If either parent re-marries, visitation rights may need to be re-examined by the courts as the child’s best interest may have changed during that time. Ideally, a remarriage should not negatively affect the child. However, some circumstances, including a new step-parent’s history of drug use or violent behavior, might be a cause for concern.


Whether you live in Nassau or Suffolk County, our divorce attorneys can assist with visitation disputes to best represent your rights as a parent and protect your child’s welfare.


What about Grandparents’ Rights?

In New York State, grandparents’ visitation rights issues exist when it is in the child’s best interest to continue Visitation. When an existing strong relationship between the grandchild and the grandparent is being disrupted, or there is evidence that a relationship will help foster the child’s growth, it is important for grandparents to exercise their legal rights.


In cases where a child lives out of New York state, or there is a history of the grandparent exhibiting negative behavior such as abuse of drugs or alcohol, it is unlikely that court-ordered Visitation will be granted. It is important to remember this when considering taking your visitation case to court.


Do Siblings have rights to Visitation?


Although not as common, custody arrangements sometimes separate siblings based on circumstantial evidence or child preference. When considering what will be in your child’s best interest, it is crucial to consider their bond with their sibling. 

Siblings have a right to maintain their current relationships, especially if that familial bond will benefit both siblings.


Call our Long Island visitation lawyers for a complimentary case evaluation.

With more than 35 years of experience, Simonetti & Associates will work to solve your custody and visitation problems as quickly and inexpensively as possible. We offer flexible hours at our Syosset and Water Mill offices and will even return your calls after business hours. For your free initial consultation, call 877-385-2560 or contact us online.

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