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Take Action if Your Ex-Spouse Violates Visitation Orders

Take Action if Your Ex-Spouse Violates Visitation Orders

Custody battles during a divorce are relatively common. Parents can have wildly divergent opinions on what is best for the child. The matter is emotional and highly charged. Unfortunately, the disagreement doesn’t always end once the divorce is finalized.

If your former spouse is denying your rightful visitation with your child, contact our attorneys at Friedman & Friedman PLLC.

New York Custody & Visitation Laws

Custody and visitation matters are usually heard at the same hearing in Family Court or mediation. Many settlements award custody to one parent and visitation to the other.

There are two types of custody in New York:

  • Legal Custody: The parent(s) with the right to make important decisions for the child such as medical care and religious upbringing.
  • Physical Custody: The parent(s) responsible for the child’s physical care and supervision (where the child lives).

Both custody types can be awarded jointly or to one parent or the other. If a judge awards sole physical custody to one parent, the non-custodial parent will have visitation. Visitation is denied only when a child’s safety is at risk.

Custody and visitation determinations are based on the best interests of the child, including the following:

  • Which parent has been the child’s primary caregiver
  • Parenting skills of each
  • Parents’ mental and physical health
  • Work schedules and child-care plans
  • Child's relationships with other family members
  • what the child wants, depending on the age of the child
  • Each parent's ability to cooperate with the other parent

Whether the custody/visitation agreement is court-ordered, reached during mediation, or negotiated between lawyers, both parents are expected to obey its provision. Unfortunately, that cooperation doesn’t always happen.

Early Signs of Breaking a Visitation Agreement

Emergencies and other unforeseen incidents can temporarily affect a visitation schedule. An isolated occurrence now and again is usually forgiven. Yet small infractions can grow into bigger, more consistent offenses. Watch for the slippery slope.

The infractions can begin with arriving late to exchange custody. Maybe they ask to pick up the child early so they can attend a special event. The violations progress to habitually keeping the child longer than allowed or purposely scheduling activities, lessons, or sports that habitually conflict with scheduled visitation. Before long, the custodial parent stops following agreed-upon holiday schedules or vacation time.

Protect Your Visitation Rights

When visitation requests become more frequent or you notice an increasing level of infractions, don’t take matters into your own hands. Talk to us. It’s possible your ex doesn’t have evil intentions. If there has been a significant change in circumstances, the custody and visitation agreement can be revisited and may be eligible for modification. Document every time your ex violates the letter of your visitation agreement. This evidence will be crucial in any court proceeding, including modifications.

If the violations of court-ordered visitation are willful and intentional, they have committed a crime. We can file a Motion for Contempt against your former spouse. The judge can impose fines of up to $1,000 and as many as 30 days in jail.

Repeated violations can even lead to the original custodial parent losing custody of the children.

Skilled Legal Counsel to Fight for Visitation Rights

We believe children are generally best served when they have a meaningful relationship with both parents.

At Friedman & Friedman PLLC, we use our passion, experience, and knowledge to provide our clients with thoughtful and honest advice and aggressive legal counsel. If your parental rights are being trampled, we stand ready to tenaciously advocate for you.

Don’t handle sensitive custody and visitation disputes on your own. Schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Reach out through our online form or call (914) 873-4410.