Visitation Lawyer - Long Island, New York

Suffolk Visitation Lawyer

People often have trouble coming to grips with the fact that the law that dictates child custody and visitation arrangements may require a different outcome than what they had hoped for. The law is designed to do what is in the best interest of the child, and more often than not, that means that both parents will be involved in the child’s life. Even if one parent played a minimal role raising the child during the marriage, that parent may be granted significant custody or visitation rights. Hiring an experienced visitation lawyer is the best way to ensure your rights are protected. At the Law Office of Louis L. Sternberg we will educate you about the realities of the law and assist you in achieving your desired result.

Visitation is a joint right of the parent and the child and the courts, in an effort to solidify the emotional bond between a non-custodial parent and a child, tremendously favor frequent and regular visitation. Regardless of whether the parents were ever married, both parents have a right to access to their child unless extraordinary circumstances exist, a parent has forfeited such rights or it is not in the best interest of the child to visit with the parent.

A visitation order does not have to be limited to simply parenting time with the child. It can also include telephone contact, video chat, e-mails, etc.

A very common question is whether the custodial parent can do anything to force the non-custodial parent to visit with the child. The answer is no. Even if the non-custodial parent has court-ordered visitation, the court will not require that parent to visit with the child. A parent’s failure to visit with the child may be grounds to modify or terminate the parent’s visitation rights but that must be done by motion or petition to the court.

Who may obtain visitation rights?

Generally, a parent’s rights to care and custody of his or her child are superior to the rights of any non-parent and therefore, the law limits standing (or who may petition for visitation) with a child. The following individuals have standing to petition for visitation:

  • Non-custodial parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents but only in limited situations
    • where the grandparents’ child has passed away
    • where the grandparents had custody of the child for an substantial period of time
    • otherwise grandparents may be permitted to seek visitation but first have to prove standing.
  • Step-parents have no visitation rights in New York unless it is by contract.

Supervised and Restricted Visitation

In circumstances in which it would be inappropriate to grant visitation to a non-custodial parent (such as when the non-custodial parent has mental health issues), the courts may employ supervised visitation as a means to allow contact.

Interference with Visitation

A custodial parent who interferes with visitation may face serious repercussions. Failure to make a child available for visitation, despite the existence of a visitation order, can result in the custodial parent being found in contempt or, in extreme circumstance, can result in a change of custody. In rare instances, courts have incarcerated a custodial parent for the failure to make the child available for court-ordered visitation.

Contact us now to discuss your Nassau County or Suffolk County visitation case.  Call the Law Office of Louis L. Sternberg at 631-600-3295 to speak with a Long Island Child Visitation Lawyer.