Restrictions or Conditions on Parenting Time

A court may impose reasonable restrictions on a parent’s parenting time.  These may include limitations on travel or travel outside the state.  These may include requiring a parent to refrain from consuming alcohol during their parenting time or for a period before the beginning of their parenting time.  These may include requiring a parent to keep certain individuals away from the child during their periods of parenting time.

The key with all of these restrictions is that they must be tied to the best interests of the child.  These restrictions are not supposed to be a method by which the custodial parent can micro-manage the non-custodial parent’s time with the child.  They cannot and should not be arbitrary nor should they be the products of the whims or irrational fears of the custodial parent.

These restrictions also reflect a level of common sense.  However, sometimes in custody cases common sense is uncommon.

There may be restrictions, or conditions, placed on a parent’s parenting time based upon specific concerns for a child’s physical health.  These may include a specific requirement that the non-custodial parent ensure that a child takes his or her prescription medications.  In another case, a court prohibited a parent from smoking around an asthmatic child.

Among the more colorful cases where there was a restriction imposed upon a parent’s parenting time was the 2002 case of Nelson v. Nelson (290 A.D.2d 826).  There the Third Department of the Appellate Division held that it was appropriate for the trial court to direct the father to wear pants or shorts while his daughters were visiting him.  The court found that the father’s practice of nudity, including sleeping in the nude with his eight year old and five year old daughters, was not consistent with the children’s best interests.

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