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Skilled Legal Assistance with Visitation Rights in New York

Arranging contact between family members in Suffolk and Nassau counties

For many families, divorce involves finding the right balance for the child to spend time with each parent. The dedicated Long Island attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP have been helping individuals negotiate parenting time — custody and visitation — since 1988. Whether you are seeking a divorce and need a skilled team to stand by you in a volatile situation or you need to revisit your visitation schedule, our attorneys advocate for you, and for your child.

Visitation is the right of a parent with whom the child does not live to be with the child. In general, New York courts want a child to have contact with both parents and usually instruct that the noncustodial parent has “frequent and meaningful” visitation with the child.

Weighing visitation options

Visitation petitions may be heard as part of an original child custody hearing in family court. A parent, grandparent or sibling may file a visitation petition. Parents may also oppose visitation requests. Ultimately, the court determines whether granting the petition is in the best interest of the child. There are various kinds of visits depending on the child custody arrangements and other circumstances.

  • Unsupervised visits: The child and adult spend time together alone or with others without restriction.
  • Supervised visits: Even a formerly abusive parent can usually have supervised visits with a child. With supervised visitation, the parent, grandparent or sibling may spend time with the child, but only with a person chosen by the court present. This usually occurs when a history of domestic violence, substance abuse or other concern regarding the child’s safety exists.
  • Therapeutic supervised visits: When mental health issues are involved, a mental healthcare provider facilitates a healthy and safe visit.

Grandparents’ rights to visitation

Regular contact with grandparents enriches a child’s life. In certain cases, a grandparent may seek custody or visitation by filing a petition in family court. For custody, grandparents must demonstrate that a parent is not fit to care for the child or is deceased or that there are extraordinary issues involved. The court decides whether the grandparent’s custody petition is in the best interest of the child. It is possible for grandparents and siblings to seek visitation through the courts, but the court is not obligated to grant grandparents or siblings visitation rights.

While grandparents have the right to request visitation through the courts, great-grandparents and step-grandparents do not.

When things change: modifying visitation agreements

Once a divorce is final, either parent may file a request to modify an existing child custody or visitation agreement with the court that made the original order. This often happens when there has been a change of circumstances, such as a move, that would alter the situation. The party who requests a modification of a visitation agreement needs to demonstrate that the change is in the child’s best interest.

Contact dedicated Long Island attorneys who advocate for you

It is important for a child to have regular contact with family, especially after a divorce. If you want to discuss visitation, custody or modifications regarding your child, sibling or grandchild, turn to the accomplished attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP. We can help you resolve your visitation issues and answer your questions. Call 631-360-0400 or contact us online to make an appointment to see us at our office in central Long Island. We serve individuals throughout Long Island from our convenient location in St. James, New York.