Divorce is hard; it is filled with emotional pain and suffering. When you married, you thought you would spend the rest of your life with the person you most loved in the world. But things didn’t turn out that way, and what began as a great romance has become a terrible tragedy.
One of the most difficult things about divorce is the choices you are forced to make. This is especially the case when you have children. The arrangements that are made concerning child custody and visitation depend largely on the willingness of parents to cooperate. If you have decided to give your ex-spouse sole custody of your children, it does not follow that you have surrendered your parental rights.
Staying with your ex-spouse may be in the child’s best interests. You may see it as the best way to minimize the disruptive effect of your divorce. The school they go to, the friends they have made, the comfort they have settled into in the family home—these are all good reasons to leave your child with your former significant other. The divorce is about you and the person you were once married to; the baby you brought into this world should not have to suffer for it.
You and your ex should be able to work out a reasonable visitation schedule. To be clear: you have a right to see your children regularly. If your spouse is trying to deny you that right, then you must fight against it.
There are a number of scenarios concerning child visitation that are addressed directly by law.
Your ex may claim that you are mentally unfit, consume illegal substances, are violent and abusive towards the children, or behave in some other way that puts the children in danger. Judges are obligated to intervene on behalf of the best interests of the children. If one parent accuses the other of misdeeds, the judge is empowered to suspend visitation rights.
However, such charges must be proved. Courts do not decide anything on hearsay and uncorroborated testimony. If you have been falsely accused of doing things that would hazard the health and safety of your children, you can fight back; you have the right to demonstrate that you can provide a clean and stable home for your child.
The decision of your former spouse to relocate to a different city is another action that can affect your ability to see your children. New York law states that a parent with sole custody of a child cannot move away with them without the approval of the other parent. If you have discovered that your ex is planning to take your children somewhere that will make it hard for you to see them regularly, you can get a court order to stop them from doing so.
Parents with sole custody often get confused. They believe that sole custody implies some kind ownership of the children. They forget that you, as the other parent, have as much right to be a parent as they do. That means bonding, nurturing, loving, and supporting your child directly and being with them as much as you can. The law makes provision for this; and if your parental right to proper visitation has been violated then you ought to take decisive action.
The first step is to get a lawyer. You should retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in family law and has particular experience in child custody and visitation law.
If your ex is trying to deny you the right to be a parent by attempting to curtail or sabotage your ability to visit your kid, it will make you angry. But anger alone will not solve the problem. You may know that the statements they’ve made about you are untrue. You may be able to see through the various schemes they are hatching to move your kids away from you. The matter must nevertheless be settled by law, in a courtroom.
Hiring a lawyer will provide you with the expertise and experience your need to develop a legal strategy to get your visitation rights enforced. Your lawyer will be able to examine and refute the false claims made by your ex. They will also be able to present the evidence that proves you are fit parent, and that you possess a stable home environment for your child. They will also be able to employ the relevant bits of law to reinforce the rightness and validity of your case.
Do not allow your visitation rights to be taken from you. The law gives you the tools to fight for your right to be a parent.
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