How to Handle Summer Child Custody Issues on Long Island
The end of the school year on Long Island is around the corner and this can mean new child custody and visitation issues. This is especially true when your divorce attorney neglected to provide for summer arrangements in your custody agreement, perhaps because it was created before the child entered school.
Because legal issues can be daunting and expensive, many families choose to make alternative arrangements themselves until the kids go back to school in the fall. However, this may not be an ideal situation, as it can put you at risk for legal action to be taken against you. Here’s how you should handle summer child custody and visitation issues.
How Child Custody & Visitation May Change in the Summer
When your original custody and visitation schedule is agreed upon, it should include both provisions for custody and visitation during school season and during the summer. For example, it may already be decided that the non-custodial parent’s visitation increases during the summer, and perhaps the children even stay with that parent for a few weeks at a time before school starts up again. Or, if the non-custodial parent has a summer job that requires long hours, they may need to relinquish some of their visitation time.
Often, a family’s schedule can change drastically during the summer, especially when there are multiple children of different ages. Things can get hectic, and it’s not uncommon for families to need to tweak their custody arrangements to account for changes that summer schedules bring.
The Importance of Adhering to Your Agreement
If your original divorce decree or custody agreement includes provisions for summer, it’s critical that you abide by them. If the arrangements don’t work for you or you believe they’re not in the best interest of your children, you may make changes to your agreement — but it’s necessary to do so through a formal modification of the custody agreement. This process involves the family court and essentially, “overwrites” your existing legal custody agreement. Ideally, this would be done a month or two before summer if you were in anticipation of upcoming changes, since Long Island family courts can take some time processing cases.
It’s important to wait until the changes to your agreement are signed off on by a judge before you depart from the provisions in your previous agreement, as we explain below.
Potential Legal Consequences
Not abiding by the current custody and visitation agreement in place can cause real problems, even if your reasons for doing so are completely legitimate, necessary, and in the best interests of the children. If, for example, you do not return your child to their custodial parent at the agreed upon time because your job keeps you at work an hour later during the summer months, you could still be charged with parental kidnapping. Or, if you don’t pick up your children from their non-custodial parent as agreed, this could be used as ammunition against you should your ex want to press for additional custody.
How to Seek the Modification of Child Custody or Visitation
When you need a change to your child custody and visitation agreement, whether it’s due to the changes in your schedule and your children’s schedule during the summer or for another reason, speak with an experienced divorce and family law attorney about formally requesting a modification. Your lawyer can help you petition the court to grant the changes or reach a compromise with your ex through mediation to amend your agreement to an arrangement that works for your family.
Contact Our Experienced Long Island Family Law Firm Today for More Information
Our seasoned Long Island family law firm can help you handle how custody and visitation changes during the summer or at any other time smoothly, without the risk of legal consequences. We have the experience and skills needed to provide you with comprehensive legal representation and are dedicated to giving your case the time and attention it needs for success. Call us today for a free consultation at 631-923-1910.
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