Saratoga Springs Visitation Lawyer
Parents who divorce or separate may face the challenge of constructing a schedule that enables their child to spend quality time with both of them. There may also be other considerations if a grandparent or third party wishes to spend time with the child. Structuring a visitation schedule suitable to everyone may be difficult for parents who are used to seeing their child every day, and discussions about visitation may become bitter and contentious. A trustworthy family attorney could offer their services in this situation.
If you and the child’s other parent cannot agree on a visitation plan, and you feel it is necessary to go to court, a New York court will consider what is in the child’s best interests. A Saratoga Springs visitation lawyer could explain this ‘best interest’ standard and the factors that the court applies when determining visitation.
How Does Visitation Differ from Custody?
When a child spends most of their time with one parent, that parent has sole or primary custody of them. Visitation is the right of the non-custodial parent, step-parent, grandparent, or other third parties to spend time with the child. If the parents cannot agree on a custody and visitation schedule for their child, then the court can order a specific custodial and visitation arrangement under New York Domestic Relations Law § 72.
Who May Request Visitation?
In Saratoga Springs, a parent, step-parent, grandparent, or other third parties with whom the child has a relationship may seek visitation. A third party may include a relative or a child’s previous caregiver. In determining visitation, the best interest standard will be the primary factor and the court has significant flexibility to decide what schedule will most benefit the child. A local visitation attorney could help make sure the schedule is fair and productive for all parties.
The Best Interest Test
The child should be the most important party in any custody or visitation proceeding, and the court will place the child’s needs ahead of everyone else’s. A court will consider many factors when it assesses what is best for a child, including the following:
- The child’s health, safety, welfare, and physical and emotional development
- The child’s relationship with both parents
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- How involved each parent has been with the child, as well as any factors that contributed to a parent’s lack of involvement
- The parents’ willingness to work together
- Any evidence of domestic abuse or violence
- The child’s wishes, if they are of sufficient maturity to have a preference
A lawyer in Saratoga Springs who is familiar with visitation rights could apply these considerations to the case and advise a party on how best to maintain contact with the child.
What to Do if Visitation is Denied
A visitation plan is not legally binding until it becomes part of a court order. In cases where parents have substantial animosity toward each other and cannot effectively communicate, one of the parties may be unwilling to follow the court-ordered visitation schedule.
If a party who has been awarded visitation is denied their time with the child, the parent denying the access may be in contempt of the visitation order. A contempt finding is intended to secure compliance with the court-ordered visitation and may result in significant penalties for the uncooperative party. A knowledgeable lawyer could explain the process of filing a petition for contempt, and describe the sanctions a court might enter against the non-compliant parent.
Get Help from a Saratoga Springs Visitation Attorney
If you are a parent, step-parent, or grandparent seeking visitation, you need to understand the legal process to establish an enforceable visitation schedule. You could benefit from the advice of a lawyer who has worked with these disputes before.
If a court has awarded you visitation, but a parent is refusing to abide by the schedule, a Saratoga Springs visitation lawyer could protect you from that interference. Call now to determine how you might secure your right to visitation and maintain contact with the child once visitation is established.