Co-parenting after divorce or separation is not without its challenges, even if both parents get along. But child custody arrangements can deteriorate rapidly when one parent violates the other’s rights.
In New York, there is a public policy of encouraging a continued relationship between parents and children after a divorce or separation. This often means that courts vest both parents with shared rights and responsibilities for raising the children, including making decisions related to their health care, education and religious training. However, one parent typically is given primary physical custody of the children and the other parent is allowed scheduled visitation.
Conflicts arise when one parent does not fully comply with the court’s custody order. Examples of noncompliance include continual lateness when picking up or dropping off a child or refusal to accompany the child to activities or school functions. More significant violations might be interfering with the other parent’s parenting time (through repeated in-person visits, telephone calls or texts) or abusing drugs or alcohol during parenting time.
If your child’s other parent is late in picking up or returning your child now and again or is sometimes not adhering to the visitation schedule, it is usually best to try to work out your differences without taking enforcement measures. You might first negotiate with the other parent, with assistance from each other’s attorneys, to try to resolve any issues that are affecting compliance with the custody order.
However, for serious and persistent infractions, you may need to go to court to enforce the order. With the aid of your attorney, you can file a Petition for Enforcement of Order of Custody Visitation with the local New York family court. To support your petition, you should have written documentation of each custody order violation, including dates, times and specific details.
The family court may provide such relief as modifying the custody order or awarding you additional days to make up for lost visitation. The court can also hold the other parent in contempt and order the other parent to pay your attorneys’ fees.
Once noncompliance starts happening regularly and without good reasons, you should act promptly to enforce the custody order. You don’t want the court questioning why you waited so long to remedy the situation. It’s best to engage an experienced custody and visitation rights lawyer to help you protect your legal rights.
The Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis is ready to assist in matters relating to custody and visitation in New York. Our offices are located in Williamsville and downtown Buffalo and we represent clients throughout the western part of the state. Contact us online or call 716-886-9600 to schedule a confidential consultation.
As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 28 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.
Alexandra M. Rockwood is a Senior Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis & Associates and has been with the firm since early 2020. She primarily practices in the areas of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Alexandra is a practicing matrimonial and family law attorney as…