divorce can be contentious, perhaps the most questions, anxieties, and battles
swirl around the issue of child custody. At the Meyers Law Group, we understand
how close this issue is to your heart, and we are committed to helping
families find the best possible solutions. We also want to take away as
much uncertainty and apprehension as possible. In order to accomplish
this success and ease, it is important to fully understand the issues
you face. Here we answer some common questions about
child custody and visitation.
Does the noncustodial parent usually get visitation rights? Usually, yes. When one parent is awarded sole custody of a child, a court
will usually give the other parent
visitation, but only if this will not harm the child. If there is a history of domestic
abuse or abandonment, then the noncustodial parent might not receive any
visitation, even supervised visitation. A court often wants the child
to maintain relationships with both parents, however, and when sole custody
is awarded to one parent, a visitation schedule is typically given to
What can a noncustodial parent do if the custodial parent interferes with
visitation rights? A noncustodial parent can file a petition, called the "Petition for
Enforcement of a Visitation Order". This will let the court know
that your visitation rights are being violated. You will need to give
testimony about the instances of interference. There will be a hearing
to look at all the evidence, then a court can modify the visitation order
and/or penalize the custodial parent, such as with a fine.
Here is what you can NEVER do. Just because a custodial parent is breaking
a court order does not mean that you can go ahead and break a court order
too. Do not stop paying
child support payments. Noncustodial parents have legal recourse. File a petition with
the court; do not deprive your child of his or her rights. If you stop
paying support, then you could lose visitation, and even be sent to jail
for being in contempt of court.
Can a custodial parent interfere with visitation if the noncustodial parent
does not meet child support payments? Again, just because one parent disobeys a court order does not mean that
you can as well. The only reason visitation can be stopped is if it is
harmful to the child, and a court must be the party to stop visitation.
If a court has deemed that the noncustodial parent should have visitation,
then this has been viewed as in the child's best interests. Do not
deprive your child of his or her rights. If a child is being deprived
of support payments, then you can file a petition with the court, a "Petition
for Violation of Support Order". In this way, you can enforce the
court order, and the noncustodial parent might be fined or even jailed
for being in contempt of court.
Can a court suspend visitation rights? Only under "exceptional circumstances". This means proving that
visitation can inflict bodily or emotional harm on the child.
Is it possible to change visitation? Child custody orders can be modified when one or both parents file a petition
for this. There will be another hearing about custody, and then a judge
will again have to determine what is in the child's best interests.
To justify a
modified court order, there must have been a significant change in circumstances, such as the
custodial parent moving away, or a parent remarrying, etc.
If you have any further questions about visitation or your divorce, please
do not hesitate to
contact a Long Island divorce lawyer from our firm. Get experience and dedication on your side today!