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Court Determines Visitation and Custody Issues


A man and a woman met in New York. The man was a resident of Florida. The woman got pregnant and gave birth to a son on August 9, 2007. A New York Family Lawyer said the father stayed in New York at the mother’s apartment for a fortnight after the baby was born. But the father left New York and returned to Florida. He did not disclose any plans to return to New York nor did he have any plans to bring his son to Florida.

Two months after the child was born, the mother filed a case in the Family Court of New York for the sole child custody of her son. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said five months during the pendency of the mother’s petition for sole child custody, the father appeared and filed an application for sole child custody or at least visitation rights.

During the pendency of the mother’s action for child custody, their son remained with her but the father was able to have one-day visits with their son nine times. He was able to get one overnight visit and one weekend visit with their son in New York. And the child was able to stay with his father for one week in Florida.

After the hearing, the Family Court of New York awarded sole custody over the son to the mother but gave the father visitation of one week every month in Florida until the child turns five. A Nassau County Child Support Lawyer said when the child begins school in 2012 and 2013, the father will have visitation in Florida on alternate school recesses. He is also given four weeks of visitation in the summer. In 2014, when the child reaches the age of seven, the father will have visitation on alternate school holidays and six weeks in the summer.

The mother appealed the New York Family Court’s order awarding extensive visitation rights to the father. The mother cites the recommendation of the court-appointed expert. The expert advised against separating the very young child from his mother at frequent intervals and for extended periods. The child cannot shuttle between New York and Florida. The child cannot have two homes: one with his mother and one with his father. He will not have any sense of permanence in his life. The sense of permanence is also negated if the father is allowed to disrupt the child’s routine and just schedule visitation whenever he wishes in New York with just one week’s notice to the mother.

The Appellate Court dismissed the mother’s appeal and the matter was remanded to the Family Court. During the pendency of the hearing at the Family Court to determine a new visitation schedule, Appellate Court issued a temporary order of visitation.

The mother went to the Supreme Court and assailed the dismissal of her appeal. The Supreme Court found for the mother. The Court declared that the expert’s opinion is just one factor to consider in determining what is best for the child. But the expert’s opinion is entitled to weight.

While the Court must be vigilant in granting visitation to the father who does not have child custody, his visitation must be gradually and carefully given. The mother must be established in the child’s life as his primary caregiver and gradually his father will be introduced to the child until he gets used to visiting with his father. The child is not even one year old and cannot withstand the rigors of travel between Florida and New York on a regular basis just so the father can have his visitation rights. The best interests of the child override the interest of the father.

Are you afraid that your custody over your child will be disturbed? Talk to a New York City Child Custody Lawyer who can help you protect your rights to sole custody over your child. A New York Child Custody Attorney from Stephen Bilkis and Associates can help you present you case and your evidence. A NYC Child Custody Lawyer can help you establish that you are the parent who is fit to have sole custody over your child. Whether you have a custody dispute, need an Order for Protection, or are filing for divorce, all Stephen Bilkis and Associates today. Talk to any of their NY Child Custody Attorneys at ay of their offices in the New York area and protect the best interests of your child.

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