Articles Posted in Visitation

The law in New York is that a non-biological, non-adoptive parent does not have standing to proceed in a court for custody or parenting time.  There is, however, a statute that allows grandparents standing to petition for custody and visitation under certain circumstances, which I have previously blogged about.  In Debra H. v Janice R., 14 N.Y.3d 576 (N.Y. 2010), New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed its rule that neither parents by the doctrine of equitable estoppel or people standing “in loco-parentis” to a child has standing to seek custody and visitation or parenting time in court.  The rule would be then that biological strangers that have not adopted a child cannot proceed in court in New York for custody and visitation.

Still applying this precedent, though, two different cases decided in different parts of New York, ended up with different results.  In one, the same sex partner was allowed to proceed with her custody case, in the other a domestic partner was found not to have standing.  The law was re-iterated in the Fourth Appellate Department, which covers part of upstate New York just this year, in 2015 in the case of Matter of Barone v Chapman-Cleland, 129 A.D.3d 1578 (2015) which stated that biology or adoption under our current statutes define what a parent is and stated that any change of this needs to come from the legislature.  In that case a same sex partner to a biological parent tried unsuccessfully to proceed in court on a case of custody and visitation.  The court ruled that this former partner did not have standing to proceed in court as a biological stranger that never adopted the child, despite the possibility that the person was very much like a parent to the child.  Continue reading

An Overview of Private Placement Adoption in New York

Adoptions take place when one or two people take another individual (generally a child) to be their own child. When someone chooses to legally adopt a child, they will have all of the responsibilities and rights of a natural payment, and the child will retain all of the rights they would have had they been born naturally to the new family. The adopted child will be given a new birth certificate, and their last name will be the same as yours.

According to the New York Domestic Relations law, a single adult, two intimate adults, or a married couple may be permitted to adopt. Adoptions can be conducted through private placements including adult, step parent and foster parent adoptions. Individuals in need of further information regarding the topic of adoption should speak to a Long Island or New York family law attorney about their rights. Continue reading

Parenting time or visitation schedules vary from family to family.  For the most part, the term visitation has been replaced by the term parenting time but both are still used.  Parenting time or visitation schedules detail when either parent spends time with their children.  First in this article, I will talk about some of the typical parenting time schedules that I encounter and can think of as a Child Custody Lawyer in New York.  Afterwards I will talk about where and how the orders are made.  The possible variations or orders or stipulations about parenting time are endless so please use this blog as suggestive of possibilities rather than as a definitive and exhaustive guide.

Each family is different, so as common as the schedule might be in any particular case, there are nuances which might appear in any one visitation or parenting time schedule.  Some parenting time schedules are not specific at all and simply require that the parents will discuss and arrange for mutually agreeable parenting time in the future.  Other cases have more specific provisions.  Probably the most common parenting time schedule that I see is where one parent has parenting time every other weekend from Friday evening or Saturday morning until Sunday evening or Monday morning.  Often times the order can include a weekly or bi-weekly dinner or overnight visit in the middle of the week to supplement the alternating weekends.  What is inherent in this type of parenting schedule is that one parent is the primary residential custodial parent.  What this means, in layman’s term, is that they live with one parent and have visitation (parenting time) with the other.  Please see our other blog entries and website or call to learn about the different custody arrangements.

Typically, in this aforementioned type of generic schedule, the children will alternate holidays and school breaks between the parents.  Some couples have situations that certain holidays are more important for them.  In that situation one parent may be granted the parenting time for the children always for that holiday.  If the holiday is equally important to both parents and both parents want time with the child(ren) each year then a schedule to determine how that holiday is shared each year might be appropriate.    Usually there is a provision that both parents may interrupt the normally scheduled parenting time of the other to be able to put together one or more weeks vacation time together each year.  A provision is usually included to give one parent priority for selection of vacation time in odd numbered years and the other in even numbered years.   Clauses that require itineraries and contact information for where the children will be staying during vacation times are often included as part of the order. Continue reading