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Sandra Lynn Chavis filed a paternity suit five months after her child was born on October 6. The father named was Todd Adamson. She was claiming for paternity, child support, sharing in the medical expenses, shared parental responsibility and scheduling of visitation. A New York Family Lawyer said, in response, Mr. Adamson, who lives in a different State, asked for joint custody and visitation for him and the paternal grandparents living in Georgia. The father had admitted paternity already and had given financial support as well as paid part of the medical expenses of the child. They had their own proposed visitation schedules.

By September, six months after the filing, the court had finalized a decision. In terms of the visitation schedule, they had adopted the one proposed by the Ms. Chavis without any variation. This is even after they said that they will make a compromise schedule and not adopt just one. In the judgment, it said that there will be no overnight visitation for some time as an eleven month-old child has some emotional needs and physical limitations that make it inadvisable to do. According to a Nassau County Family Lawyer, the court sees the want of the father and the grandparents to form a bond with the child early on, but because they are far, it will be hard for an infant even a toddler.

The father, Mr. Adamson, in the lower court’s decision gets a few hours of visitation where Ms. Chavis lives. This is done on alternating weekends. Only by the age two does he get an overnight visit, which is only once every month. It is restricted further to Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. By age three, he can already take the child for an overnight, not a weekend visit, outside the State. Extended visits are only to be done beginning the summer before the child enters first grade. There is also no provision for the visitation of the grandparents. Mr. Adamson appealed against this ruling.

The Court of Appeals found merit in Mr. Adamson’s claims regarding the visitation schedule. The lower court showed that it had applied the “tender years” doctrine, which was already abolished. This was the rule favoring the mother if the child is very young. They said that both parents have equal rights as to the deciding where their child lives and studies unless one is proven as incapable of taking care of the child. It has been proven that a father can take care of his infant child even without the mother. Having the father wait several years for longer visits deprives the father of having a meaningful relationship with his child. The reasoning that a child is too young to be apart from his mother is an error. The court reversed the decision.

Each parent has an equal right to the rearing of their child. This is only changed if one is proven to be unfit. Stephen Bilkis and Associates sees to it that you as a parent have your rights protected as well as the well-being of the child. The determination is now done with newer studies to decide what is best for a child.

Whether you need an order for protection, or have a paternity or visitation dispute, Stephen Bilkis and Associates have the experience that will provide you with options when you are in the middle of a visitation rights case. We have offices Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan in New York. We are in Suffolk County and Nassau County and in Westchester County in Long Island. We will provide you with legal assistance that makes sure your rights as a parent and your child’s welfare are protected. For a free consultation, call us today at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW.

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