Divorce is never an easy undertaking, particularly when children are involved. Parental visitation rights can be one of the most emotional components to this process, as mother and father determine what is best for the children and the family unit in general.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the idea of determining parental visitation rights, the attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have a few basic facts to keep in mind during the process.
What is visitation?
Visitation, also referred to as “access,” is the legal right of a parent that does not have residential custody to spend time with their child. This ensures the child has access to both parents after a divorce settlement without dispute as to where and when the child will be cared for. Visitation and custody are often determined simultaneously by the courts, although a request for visitation can also be filed separately. Visitation may also be requested by family members like siblings or grandparents of the child.
How is visitation determined?
Visitation can be “reasonable,” which means the parties involved determine when and where the visitation occurs. The visiting parent must provide adequate notice to see the child under reasonable conditions and at reasonable times under this agreement. If an agreement cannot be worked out among the parties, the court can also order the specific times the visitation will occur.
What is supervised visitation?
If there is evidence the child might be harmed in some way by the non-custodial parent, supervised visitation might be ordered by the court. In these cases, visitation is overseen by a third party like a social worker or another relative. Supervised visitation may be a permanent part of the custody agreement or a temporary part if the non-custodial parent petitions for a change in the future and can prove unsupervised visitation would be safe for the child.
Do I need mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a third party works to help the parents of the child reach an agreement on custody and visitation. While the mediator does not have the authority to issue court orders, or even provide recommendations to the court, this individual can facilitate communication between parents in an effort to help them come to an agreement. In fact, statements made during mediation may not be admissible in court, which encourages the confidentiality of the process and promotes healthy dialogue and conflict resolution in many cases.
Do I need legal representation?
While the parties involved in visitation matters may proceed without legal assistance, the advantages of professional legal representation cannot be underestimated. The complexities of visitation can confuse and overwhelm parents on both side of the custody agreement, which can make it difficult to understand all of the details once it is finally determined. Both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent can benefit from proper legal advice as they navigate the complexities of the legal process.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have ample experience working with parents on custody matters during divorce proceedings. For an assessment of your case and answers to all of your legal questions, contact our family lawyers in Rockland County, NY, or Bergen County, NJ, today at 888-311-4803.
Additional family law resources:
- NY Courts.gov, Custody and Visitation, http://www.nycourts.gov/Courts/nyc/family/faqs_custodyandvisitation.shtml
- WomensLaw.org, Custody, http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=138&state_code=NY