New York Divorce Guide

Visitation (Parenting Time)

Q. Can my soon-to-be ex and I put together our own visitation plan rather than accept the court’s plan?
Yes, you can. During the divorce process, the parties have an opportunity to negotiate and agree to a visitation plan as part of a parenting plan; one that works well for everyone. Of course, if there is no agreement, the court can order mediation, or impose a schedule of its own.

Q. Assuming no agreement can be reached between my wife and I, what’s the typical visitation schedule I can expect from the court?
A standard visitation agreement may include: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods of school recess -winter, spring and summer, New Year’s Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father’s Day with Father, Mother’s Day with Mother, alternate years on the children’s birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer.

Q. Any suggestions on what we might include in a visitation agreement?
Make sure your spouse understands how important it is to agree on terms for shared parenting. You really don’t want the family court deciding these things. Shoot for joint custody and don’t get hung up on legal custody as long as you both can make major decisions for the child. Your best chance of success in deciding on shared parenting and shared custody would be to use Parenting TimeĀ©. If cooperation isn’t possible, negotiate. We would recommend you consider including language that defines which parent will pick up and drop off children, what each will do if one parent becomes habitually late, a provision for the right to be called first if the parent caring for the children needs to make other arrangements such as finding a sitter, and how much much exposure they’ll want for their children should a new partner enter either parents life. Issues such as having those new partners stay overnight should be decided. Consider any other matters that would reduce the friction in the future.

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[Domestic Relations Laws – Article 8 – Section 1081]

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