In New York, visitation for the non-custodial parent is deemed a privilege,
and only in the most egregious of situations will visitation be denied
or limited. As with awards of custody, the court is free to fashion a
visitation schedule based upon the best interests of the child after a
consideration of an innumerable set of factors.
Nevertheless, the court is vested with sufficient authority to impose conditions
upon visitation to ensure the continued safety and well-being of the child.
These conditions include - but are not limited to - restricting the location,
hours, and presence of third parties.
However, the courts are generally sensitive to efforts by a custodial parent
to alienate the affections of their children towards the non-custodial
parent. As with custodial interference, any perceived interference with
a non-custodial parent's visitation privileges may serve as grounds
for a change of custody, although this is only reserved for the most flagrant
It should also be noted that a non-custodial parent's duty to pay child
support is independent of his or her visitation privileges. Simply put,
the non-custodial parent's failure to pay child support is not grounds,
in and of itself, to deny his or her visitation. By the same token, a
custodial parent's denial or interference with the non-custodial parent's
visitation does not relieve the non-custodial parent of the support obligation.
However, Domestic Relations Law section 241 permits a suspension of the
support obligation under certain circumstances, but in no instance without
making proper application.