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Settling the issue of child visitation need not be done acrimoniously, but that is too often the result of such an undertaking. If you went through a bitter and nasty divorce, you might be surprised about the kind of situations and contests you can find yourself in when it comes to visiting your children. You have a right to visit your children. Your ex-spouse is not allowed to use access to your children as a means of getting revenge on you. This is not the kind of thing that appears reasonable to do, and it is probably the case that your former partner knows that. But divorce can encourage people toward extreme behaviors; it can compel them to do things they would not even consider under normal circumstances.
In the name of providing your children with stability and normality, of ensuring that they are able to minimize the disruption to their everyday routine, you and your ex will have agreed to a visitation schedule that works for all. If you suspect that your former spouse is trying to break that agreement and keep you from your kids, then you should contact a child visitation lawyer immediately.
It is best not to allow such actions to drift unchecked. You are in the best position to evaluate the situation. If you sincerely believe that missed visits come down to unintentional errors on their part, then you might want to hold off on getting the law involved. However, if you strongly suspect that these oversights are not oversights at all but a deliberate ploy to keep you from your children, then you ought to take immediate and aggressive action.
The law makes it quite clear that the right of the non-custodial parent to visit their children cannot be infringed by the parent who has custody. Visitation rights can only be withheld if there is evidence that the non-custodial parent is guilty of abuse, neglect, or drug and alcohol addiction. Such rights may also be withheld if it is proven that the non-custodial parent suffers from mental instability.
Your ex may claim that you fall into one of these categories. She may be able to put forth evidence that suggests that your lifestyle is harmful to the children and that your right to see them should therefore be suspended. As in all legal cases, such evidence can be challenged. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in these matters will allow you to discredit her claims and keep your right to see your kids free from interference.
Another thing to look out for is moving your children away without your consent. Again, New York State is quite clear on this matter. Even if your ex-spouse has sole custody of the children, they cannot take them to any place that would make it overly difficult or burdensome for you to visit them. It is not a matter of trying to make it hard for them to move on with life; it is a matter of having access to your children. You may be able to manage things so that you can continue to see them regularly. But if the move is to a place that would make such regular visits impossible you have a right to withhold your consent.
Having the right lawyer on your side will make it easier for you to protect your parental rights. You should ensure that you are being treated fairly and that the best interests of the children are really being put first.