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As a Family Law and Child Custody Attorney practicing on Long Island, I see that many divorcing parents in Nassau County and Suffolk County have questions about their rights to visitation with their children after divorce.

Arrangements for child custody and visitation can be one of the most difficult agreements for divorcing parents to make, but coming to a private agreement about visitation rather than making the courts decide can result in better outcomes for the children and parents. Parents can avoid the time, cost, and stress of litigating child visitation issues by trying to put differences aside in order to come to a private agreement. Courts in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island are governed by New York state law, which is designed to encourage parents to work together whenever possible to create an amicable environment for the children.

If You Can’t Agree on Child Visitation Schedules, Nassau County or Suffolk County Supreme or Family Courts Will Decide For You

When divorced or separated parents cannot come to a private agreement about child custody and visitation, a court in Nassau County or Suffolk County will likely issue a custody and visitation order, which can include a detailed visitation schedule. When one parent is granted full or sole custody of a child or children, the noncustodial parent is often entitled to visitation with the child. The visitation schedule crafted by the court will consider the schedules and locations of the parents and children, and will keep the best interests of the child in mind, as well as the best interests of the family as a whole.

Child Visitation on Long Island Is Not Just Every Other Weekend

You should be aware that in Nassau County and Suffolk County, visitation arrangements are no longer confined to an “every-other-weekend” schedule as many parents may believe. Presently, many noncustodial parents are awarded weekly weeknight and weekend visitation, which is arranged based upon the schedules of both parents as well as the child’s or children’s activities.

When issuing a visitation order, courts have the discretion to allow parents to work out the schedules on their own, or to impose specific dates and times for visitation, including pickup and return times and locations, holiday arrangements, and where the children may or may not travel during visits. When the parents can get along well enough to work out details between one another so that they can accommodate everyone’s schedules and locations, courts will likely allow the parents to arrange the details privately. When a divorce is not amicable and parents cannot seem to agree on any point, the court will clearly define the terms of the agreement so that there is no ambiguity and less room for manipulation or argument.

The Child or Children Have Input on their Visitation on Long Island

The wishes of minor children will be taken into account, and more weight is given to the wishes of older children. Nassau County and Suffolk County Courts will try to accommodate the children’s wishes in most cases; however, the court will also consider the influences on the child’s wishes as well as the maturity level of the child.

Visitation Can Be Withheld by Nassau County or Suffolk County Supreme or Family Courts

In some cases, noncustodial parents will not be entitled to visitation. Cases in which there is abuse, neglect, or abandonment can result in a withholding of visitation rights, or in extreme cases, a termination of parental rights. As the bottom line for the courts is the best interests of the child, any visitation that could be emotionally or physically damaging to the child is unlikely to be ordered by the court. Visitation may be withheld from parents who are abusive, or who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction (especially if they refuse treatment), emotional volatility, or a propensity to disregard court orders.

Child Visitation is Decided by Nassau County or Suffolk County Family Court or Supreme Court

Visitation petitions can be filed in the Family Court or the Supreme Court in order to ask the court for an initial order of visitation, or to request modification of an existing order. Child custody and visitation orders can be included in the divorce or separation agreement, or can be made by a separate order of the court. Custody or visitation may also be modified by the court upon the petition of a parent if circumstantial changes have occurred that warrant a change in the custody or visitation arrangements. For example, if a parent’s work schedule has changed, or if a parent is relocating, courts may find that a significant change in circumstances has occurred that makes modification necessary. Finally, if a visitation order is being violated, a parent can file a violation petition in order to address the violation. In response, the court will use its discretion and may terminate or reduce visitation rights.

Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?

To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.

Contact Long Island Child Custody Attorney for Help With Child Visitation and Child Custody in Nassau County and Suffolk County

Child custody and visitation is one of the most sensitive issues in the divorce or separation process in Nassau County and Suffolk County, NY. Confide in a trusted Long Island Child Custody Lawyer and Family Law attorney and to address your family’s unique circumstances and needs in order to ensure the best possible outcome for your children and family. If you have questions about your visitation rights in Nassau County, Suffolk County, or the five boroughs of New York City, contact the Family Law Office of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. at 631-923-1910 for a free, confidential consultation.

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