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Frequently Asked Questions About Child Visitation

As a part of your child custody negotiations, you will need to create a child visitation schedule. In most cases, the noncustodial parent will have the right to reasonable visitation with his or her kids.

Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive on child visitation:

Q: What qualifies as ‘reasonable visitation?’

The parent who has physical custody of the children may have a little more control over the dates, times and length of visits the kids have with the noncustodial parent until there is a Court Order. Although that parent is not obligated to agree to any specific schedule, judges do like to see parents who are cooperative and flexible. Therefore, when the court leaves it up to you and your former partner to create a visitation schedule, it’s with the expectation that you will create one that provides a “reasonable” amount of time for the noncustodial parent to spend with the kids. However, this does not result in the custodial parent dictating the noncustodial parent’s time. In fact, if you and the other party cannot agree on a reasonable schedule, the Court will determine a schedule parenting for both of the parties.

Q: What happens if my former partner was abusive?

If the noncustodial parent has a history of abusive behavior toward you or your children, the court may require supervised visitation. In these sessions, another adult (not the custodial parent) must be constantly present. This person could be appointed by the court or be someone both parents know. In extreme circumstances, the abusive parent will have his or her visitation rights completely revoked and in extreme circumstances, terminated.

Q: Do grandparents have visitation rights?

Every state has statutes outlining grandparent visitation rights. In New York, grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights if one or both the kids’ parents have died or they have an established a very close relationship with their grandchildren. It should be noted that the Court will not hear the case until you can prove first that you have standing. Even if you have standing, it does not mean that the Court must grant you visitation.

Q: Must the court create the visitation schedule?

Judges tend to prefer that parents create their own visitation schedules without the court’s assistance, but will step in and create a visitation schedule if parents are unable to work together to make their own. In general, a court will approve any visitation schedule the parents create, as long as it’s reasonable and in the best interests of the child. If there is attorney representing the children, they must also approve the schedule.

For further information and advice on creating a sound visitation schedule that protects the best interests of your kids, meet with a trusted child custody attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.