Child visitation and concerns about safety

Posted by Lauren S. CohenAug 07, 20190 Comments

In some cases, a separated or divorced parent may be worried about the safety of their kid with the other parent. While New York courts usually take these concerns seriously, they also want to be certain that the allegations are true. Therefore, they will generally conduct an investigation.

A parent should collect any documentation, including police reports or medical information, that support the claims. Documentation may also come in the form of testimony from family members, friends, neighbors or even the child's teacher. Child protective services might get involved in the investigation and interview some of these individuals. If the child has a therapist, this professional may be able to present an opinion. However, a judge might also order an evaluation from a different therapist.

A concerned parent who hasn't already done so can file for custody. During an investigation, the other parent might be allowed limited contact with the child. However, if a parent feels even this degree of contact is unsafe, a restraining order may be necessary. This will make it illegal for the other parent to contact the parent or child. Penalties for violating an order include jail time.

Ideally, parents will work together for the child's best interests. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, even if there is no abuse. Exes who have a contentious relationship might want to agree in the parenting plan about how they will communicate about pickups, drop-offs and other matters concerning the child. There is software that they can use for this if they are experiencing too much conflict for regular contact. If too much conflict arises, legal action may be necessary.