As a parent, nothing means more to you than the well-being of your child, and we want to help you stay informed about this topic so that you can ensure your child is adequately provided for.
Do They Need Their Own Bedroom?
In short, while a separate bedroom for overnight stays is preferred by the Courts, it is not a requirement. The court will grant overnight visitation even if the children may not be afforded their own bedroom at the noncustodial parent’s residence. What will be of paramount concern to the Court is that the child has quality time with the noncustodial parent, and is safe and comfortable during those overnight visits. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to determine how best to make the child comfortable with overnight accommodations, but often the parents cannot agree.
With that said, every family’s situation is different, and several factors will dictate how courts will determine what accommodations may be necessary for a child who is having an overnight visit with their noncustodial parent, including:
- The Child’s Age and Gender. If the noncustodial parent is the opposite sex of their child, the courts may expect them to have a separate, private place to sleep, get dressed, etc. Additionally, older children and teenagers require more privacy and space than younger children.
- Number of Children. Judges will look at how many children are involved when determining appropriate overnight accommodations; typically, more children will require more space.
- Parent’s Unique Circumstances. Judges understand that parents who pay child support or make less income than the other parent may not be able to afford a larger home.
- Child’s Ability to Adjust. In the best interests of the child, a judge will determine if having a smaller space at the parent’s home will impact the child’s psychological or physical well-being.
At the very least, courts will probably require a parent to provide a separate bed for the child if a separate bedroom is not available at the moment. This can be in the form of a pullout couch or a cot, or the parent may sacrifice their own bed for the night and have their child sleep in it.
Is There Anything That Can Be Done About This?
We understand that financial stressors, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, have caused many parents to downsize their homes. If you don’t have a separate bedroom for your child at the current time, you and a child custody attorney should be prepared to position the situation in court in a way that is logical and realistic.
For instance, if a parent recently lost their job due to a layoff, it would be understandable that the parent had to move into a one-bedroom apartment that was more affordable. While the child may not have their own bedroom at the new home, it will probably be okay to continue overnight stays on a temporary basis until a new place with an extra bedroom can be afforded.
At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, our Long Island legal team knows that your children are the most important thing to you. Whether you are a custodial parent who believes your children are in need of better circumstances or you are a noncustodial parent who wants to ensure your visitation rights are protected, we are here to fulfill your needs.
For more information on how to develop a custody and visitation schedule that works for all parties involved and puts your kids above all else, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at (516) 406-8500