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When one parent has custody of their child, the other parent may petition for visitation. After a divorce or legal separation, the non-custodial parent generally will want to maintain contact with their child and have it secured by a court ordered visitation schedule. This outlines the amount of time and when the non-custodial parent may see their child. As a parent, it is essential to understand how your child will be affected by visitation, or a lack thereof.
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Taking Your Visitation Case to Court: What to Expect
When going to court for visitation with your child, the judge may request that a Law Guardian be appointed in order to represent the interest of the child. The Law Guardian will have an examination with his/her client and decide how best to proceed. Moving forward, the age of the child is a major factor in determining issues of custody and visitation.
When a divorce is uncontested, both parents can agree on a visitation schedule that works best for one another as well as the child. When the case is heard in Court, “the best interest of the child” is determined, and the visitation schedule is based upon the findings. Generally, the Court wants the child to have a positive and loving relationship with both parents, so in most cases, they will award some kind of visitation to the non-custodial parent.
Types of visitation that can be ordered:
Unsupervised visits are regularly scheduled visits that allow the parent to spend time with the child.
Supervised visits involve another person, determined by the Court, to supervise the visitation because the parent is not allowed to be alone with the child. This happens often when there are previous incidents of domestic violence.
Therapeutically supervised visits occur when a mental health professional is present during the visits with the intent to facilitate parenting skills of the parent. It is important to have a neutral and safe location to exchange the child, such as a mall or library.
Can I Refuse Visitation If Child Support Is Not Paid?
No - child visitation and child support are seen as two separate issues by the court. You are bound by your obligation to grant the other parent visitation rights, even if the other parent has not paid child support. Under no circumstances should you deny the other party his or her visitation rights unless in very rare circumstances where you can prove that visitation would endanger the child (examples include violence or substance abuse). If you deny the other parent visitation rights, you may be held in violation of your court order and be subject to penalties. Our law firm can protect the rights of mothers and fathers who are having difficulty accessing their children.
Contact Us for Skilled Guidance
Whether you are petitioning for visitation, are attempting to modify a previous visitation order or are hoping to have the court enforce a standing visitation order, having a knowledgeable and trustworthy Long Island child custody lawyer on your side can make the process as easy as possible for you. Again, these are emotional times, and your rights to your children are of utmost importance.