When you establish child custody arrangements in New York City, having the advice of an experienced Brooklyn child visitation lawyer is invaluable. At Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, we understand how stressful child visitation plans can be. You want what is best for your child. But when you split from the child’s other parent, figuring out what is best and how to achieve it can seem impossible. Our Brooklyn child visitation attorney, George M. Gilmer, can help.
Experienced Brooklyn Child Visitation Lawyer
Navigating custody arrangements and visitation for your child can be overwhelming. An experienced child visitation lawyer can help you find a path forward.
To begin, you tell us about yourself, your family, and your child visitation goals. With that background, we talk through what to expect from New York’s child custody and visitation processes.
Then, we strategize. Our Brooklyn visitation rights lawyer at Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC has 20 years of experience developing client-centered case strategies that meet your unique needs. After we have a plan, we get to work fighting for you.
Crafting a Solid Parenting Plan in Brooklyn
A solid parenting plan is essential to any case strategy. A parenting plan is an agreement about how you and the other parent will care for your child post-separation. Your parenting plan should address how you and your co-parent will handle:
- Your parenting schedule,
- Communicating about your child,
- Big decisions in your child’s life, and
- How to modify the agreement, temporarily or permanently.
When crafting a parenting plan, it is vital to explicitly address how and why it is in the child’s best interests. Not only will this help during any negotiations with your co-parent, but it keeps you a step ahead if the case goes to court, where the child’s best interests are paramount.
Your parenting plan should indicate whether each parent has sole or joint legal and physical custody. Physical custody involves providing for the child’s physical well-being, especially a place to live, while legal custody includes the right to make major decisions about the child’s life. Parents can have joint legal custody even if one parent has sole physical custody. If you and your co-parent disagree on custody, your attorney can negotiate for you. If your co-parent still does not agree, your attorney can guide you through attending mediation or going to court.
Your custody arrangements generally direct your parenting schedule. Regardless of custody, your parenting schedule should include a breakdown of how you will handle holidays, birthdays, and school vacations. Also, decide how and when exchanges will take place. The exchange process can be simple or complex, depending on your relationship and how far apart you live. Include dates and times as well as the locations where you expect exchanges to happen.
Sole Custody Schedule
If one of you has sole physical custody, the other parent will have much less time with the child. Often, this includes the child going to the other parent’s house one weeknight per week and staying overnight every other weekend. You and your co-parent can agree to a different arrangement if it works better for you and your child.
If one parent has a history of abuse or neglect, you might consider supervised visitation. Note in your plan what that visitation should look like, including when it will happen and who will be there.
Joint Custody Schedule
If you and your co-parent have joint custody, your parenting schedule must reflect that. Designing a schedule that works best for the child is often more important than getting each parent precisely equal time. Uneven schedules may work best when one parent works long hours, travels frequently, or lives far away.
Set out how you will communicate with your co-parent and what you expect to be notified about. Even if you have a good relationship, having both parents on the same page about communication will save a lot of headaches. If your relationship is contentious, you may want to designate a third party to communicate through or a neutral location to talk.
Big Decisions in Your Child’s Life
Include how you will handle and decide about the big decisions in your child’s life. Examples of things to address here include:
- Religion, and
- Any relevant cultural practices.
Laying out what you want in advance can help maintain harmony when a disagreement arises.
Another thing to address is what you will do if one parent wants to move away. Decide how much notice the moving parent should give and how it will affect your custody schedule. Also address how you will resolve any disputes relating to the move.
Modifying the Agreement
Consider including provisions on how to modify the agreement in the future. Be specific if you want to use a particular process or go through a specific person (such as a mediator) to modify your agreement. Include how to make permanent modifications, like changing the parental schedule after one parent moves, and temporary modifications, like switching which weekend the child visits the non-custodial parent.
Establishing a Co-Parenting Agreement
After your parenting plan is drafted, you need to put legal force behind it. If you and your co-parent agree to the terms, you need only to sign the agreement and enact the plan. However, you have a few options if you and your co-parent disagree.
An experienced Brooklyn visitation rights attorney can negotiate on your behalf. Negotiating may require compromise, but it saves time and money and may help keep the peace.
At mediation, a neutral mediator will help you and the other parent look for common ground. A mediator is not a decision-maker. If you cannot agree with a mediator’s help, you have the right to take your case to court.
Go to Court
If your co-parent refuses to compromise, you can turn to New York’s family courts. You will need to attend a hearing. At the hearing, you and your co-parent will explain what you want and why you believe it would be best. After listening to both parents, the judge will issue an order setting custody and visitation terms. Having an experienced Brooklyn lawyer for visitation rights represent you at the hearing will give you your best shot at a satisfactory visitation order.
Modifying Visitation Orders in Brooklyn
To change your visitation order, you petition the court. If you and your co-parent agree on changes, the court will usually approve the modification unless it clearly contradicts the child’s best interests. If your co-parent disagrees, you need to prove to the court that your circumstances have changed and those changes justify modifying the order. Circumstances that might qualify include getting sober, one parent endangering the child, or one parent moving away. Our experienced family law attorney can guide you through modifying your visitation order.
Secure Your Visitation Rights in Brooklyn
At Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC, we understand how difficult making custody and visitation arrangements is. We have over two decades of experience to inform how we can work to protect your visitation rights. We will fight for you, whether your co-parent agrees to your terms right away or they resist all the way to court. If you need a Brooklyn child visitation attorney, contact us today.