HOW THE COURT DEALS WITH VISITATION/CUSTODY IN NEW YORK STATE

There is no standard definition of “best interest” of the child. In general, it refers to the factors that the Judge considers when deciding what will best serve the child and who is best suited to take care of the child. In New York, the “child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns” when making a decision.

 

Custody and Visitation– When awarding custody and visitation, courts do not favor one parent over the other parent. The court awards custody and visitation based on what is best for the child. The Judge will look at many things to figure out what would be in the best interest of the child, such as:

  • which parent has been the main care giver/nurturer of the child
  • the parenting skills of each parent, their strengths and weaknesses and their ability to provide for the child’s special needs, if any
  • the mental and physical health of the parents
  • whether there has been domestic violence in the family
  • work schedules and child care plans of each parent
  • the child’s relationships with brothers, sisters, and members of the rest of the family
  • what the child wants, depending on the age of the child
  • each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent and to encourage a relationship with the other parent, when it is safe to do so

Who Can File For Visitation– A child’s parents, grandparents, and siblings can ask the court for visitation. This doesn’t mean that the court will give visitation.

If the child is in foster care, a parent has a right to visit with the child unless his or her parental rights have been “terminated.” If the parent’s parental rights have been terminated, this means that they do not have a right to visit the child. 

The Visitation Hearing– Usually, a child’s parents can agree on a visitation schedule on their own. But, if the parents can’t agree then the Judge will have a hearing to decide on a visitation schedule, unless there is a good reason for one parent not to have visitation. 

Help with Your Visitation Order– If you already have a custody or visitation order for your child from Family Court, you can use the Custody/Visitation Modification DIY Program to ask the court to change the order or the Custody/Visitation Enforcement DIY Program to ask the court to enforce it if it is not being followed.

Custody/Visitation Modification Petition Program

Aviso: Este programa es en inglés, pero obtendrá su traducción al pulsar sobre “ESPAÑOL.” Deberá responder en inglés o el tribunal rechazará sus documentos. Cuando termine este programa podrá imprimir las instrucciones en español.

You can use the Custody/Visitation Modification Petition to change the custody/visitation order if there is a “change in circumstances.” This free program will help you fill out the petition that you will need to file in Family Court.  

File this form in Family Court.

You can use this program if:

  • the custody/visitation order is signed by a Judge from a New York State Court,
  • you are the parent of the child or children,
  • the child or children are not in foster care, and
  • only you and the other parent are on the order.

Information Checklist– You will need the following information with you when you use this program:

  • The name and address of the other parent.
  • A copy of the custody/visitation order.
  • The names, addresses and birth dates of the children.

About DIY Forms– This program is not e-fileable. Your papers must be printed, then filed at the Court.

Who Can Use These Programs?

You can use DIY Forms if:

  • you’re a court user and you don’t have a lawyer;
  • you’re a legal services provider;
  • you’re a pro bono lawyer. Pro bono lawyers filing a DIY Form must submit this pro bono affirmation.
  • you’re from a low-bono (reduced fee) program recognized and authorized to use the DIY Form programs by the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program. You must submit this low-bono affirmation with the filing.

Commercial use is prohibited and no one may charge for using these programs. When you begin the program, you will be asked to accept these terms of use.

Custody/Visitation Enforcement Petition Program

Aviso: Este programa es en inglés, pero obtendrá su traducción al pulsar sobre “ESPAÑOL.” Deberá responder en inglés o el tribunal rechazará sus documentos. Cuando termine este programa podrá imprimir las instrucciones en español.

You can use the Custody/Visitation Enforcement Petition if the custody or visitation order is not being followed. This free program will help you fill out the petition that you will need to file in Family Court. 

File this form in Family Court.

You can use this program if:

  • the custody/visitation order is signed by a Judge from a New York State Court,
  • you are the parent of the child or children,
  • the child or children are under 18,
  • the child or children are not in foster care, and
  • only you and the other parent are on the order.

IMPORTANT:

If you believe that a child is being neglected or abused, contact the child welfare authorities at 1-800-342-3720. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.

Information Checklist– You will need the following information with you when you use this program:

  • The name and address of the other parent.
  • A copy of the custody/visitation order.
  • The names, addresses and birth dates of the children.

About DIY Forms- This program is not e-fileable. Your papers must be printed, then filed at the Court.

Who Can Use These Programs?

You can use DIY Forms if:

  • you’re a court user and you don’t have a lawyer;
  • you’re a legal services provider;
  • you’re a pro bono lawyer. Pro bono lawyers filing a DIY Form must submit this pro bono affirmation.
  • you’re from a low-bono (reduced fee) program recognized and authorized to use the DIY Form programs by the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program. You must submit this low-bono affirmation with the filing.

Commercial use is prohibited and no one may charge for using these programs. When you begin the program, you will be asked to accept these terms of use.

For information on serving Visitation or Custody papers, contact undisputedlegal.com or (212) 203-8001. Representative are ready to assist you, we serve all legal papers, call now!

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