The New York Court of Appeals has held that absent any threat to the child’s wellbeing, those people who have visitation rights have the right to unsupervised visitation with his or her child. Weiss v. Weiss, 52 N.Y.2d 170 (1981); Nancy M. v. Brian M., 227 A.D.2d 404 (1996); Twersky v. Twersky, 103 A.D.2d 775 (1984). For the court to order supervised visitation, there must be a finding that the unsupervised visitation is adverse to the child’s best interest. Courts consider the following factors, among others, in deciding whether to order supervised visitation:
(1) Mental illness if, due to the mental condition, it would cause potential harm to the child if the visits were unsupervised;
(2) Substance abuse, if it causes the parent to act in a way that could be injurious to the child if visits were unsupervised;
(3) Sexual behavior (for example if the parent might engage with a romantic partner in front of the child and adversely affect the child) during unsupervised visits; and
(4) Threats of abduction.
This is an excerpt from my new book “Onward and Upward: Guide for Getting Through New York Divorce & Family Law Issues” available on Amazon, Kindle and iBooks. This is an except from the chapter I wrote with the talented Bonnie Mohr. I also wrote the Chapter on Mediation, which also discusses mediation on disputes like this. Not only am I a family law litigator, but I am also a trained mediator for divorce, child custody and visitation disputes, and commercial mediation. The book is chalk full of great advice on a myriad of family law issues ranging from prenups, child custody disputes, and divorce/annulments. The book’s special sauce is that it has over 48 authors, including many nonlawyer authors, writing on both legal and nonlegal topics. More info on the book can be found here.