New York Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
When you are familiar with the law and the requirements of the court, you are better equipped to present a child visitation schedule the court will be more likely to approve of.
The State of New York has legislation in place protect the rights and best interests of a child in child custody proceedings.
These laws can be found in the Domestic Relations section of the Laws of New York, in the Family Law Act of New York, and in the state and local court rules.
Once a child visitation schedule and custody arrangement is approved by the court and so ordered, it becomes a contractual obligation that both parents must abide by, so it is important to put much thought and consideration into creating your child's visitation schedule.
In the State of New York, parents involved in child custody proceedings may either have their case decided by a judge or they may work together and submit their own parenting plan to the court, to be approved by a judge.
So, if you care able to reach an agreement with the other parent, you will make your own custody arrangements.
Sometimes parents are able to work together and cooperate with each other and create the parenting plan and child visitation schedule on their own, but there are times when working with the other parent is difficult.
If you are unable to reach an agreement and create a parenting plan with the other parent, mediation is available to parents at no cost. If you attend mediation, you will both meet with a neutral mediator who will help create a parenting plan and child visitation schedule that you both approve of.
A regular residential schedule will be the foundation of your New York custody and visitation schedule. A regular residential schedule should:
- Define where the child will live and when the child will spend time with each parent
- Provide the child with stability and ensure the child frequent, continuing contact with both parents
- Be based on the needs of the child and the feasibility of executing the schedule based upon the availability of each parent
- Take the proximity of the parents' homes to each other and the child's school into consideration
- Allow the child the optimal amount of time with each parent
The holiday schedule has priority over the regular residential schedule. Typically, parents share holidays with the child by alternating them on even and odd years, but you are free to create the holiday schedule however you prefer, as long as the needs and best interest of the child are being met.
Your holiday schedule should include the following holidays and any other holidays and special occasions your family may celebrate:
- Mother's Day
- Father's Day
- Christmas Eve
- New Year's Eve
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King Day
- President's Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Veteran's Day
- The child's birthday
The vacation schedule should include specific details for winter break, spring break, and personal vacation time. A summer schedule should also be created for school aged children to allow more liberal visitation with both parents as the child is free from educational responsibilities.
Creating a child visitation schedule that clearly specifies when your child will spend time with each parent is a vital part of the child custody process.
It should be as specific as possible, which will provide your child with the structure of a predictable schedule, and clearly written or designed so that there will be no misinterpretation of the schedule in the future. This will help avoid any parental conflict, which benefits everyone.
The State of New York considers the child's best interests in every matter involving children. Some of the factors the judge will consider and hear evidence about include:
- Who has been the child's primary caregiver
- The parenting skills of each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide food, shelter, and education for the child
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- Whether there is any history of domestic violence or abuse in the home
- The child's relationship with other family members, such as siblings
- Any other factors the court finds to be relevant
Each child custody case in the State of New York is fact specific, which means every case is different and will be treated accordingly. The same can be said of a child visitation schedule. Each child has different needs, situations, and circumstances, and your child visitation schedule should reflect this uniqueness.
The top twenty cities in New York (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse, Albany, Cheektowaga, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Schenectady, Utica, White Plains, Tonawanda, Brentwood, Hemptstead, Levittown, Niagara Falls, Irondequoit, Troy, Binghamton.