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When it comes to the dissolution of a marriage, there is no more important aspect than caring for the children’s wellbeing. Even though a marriage is irreparable, the emotional and physical safety of the children will continue to be that couple’s responsibility post divorce and must be a paramount consideration in any divorce case.
Unfortunately, child custody disputes often arise during these raw and emotionally charged moments. Having the insight and the skillful negotiation experience of a New York child custody lawyer is one of the most important things you can do for yourself during a marital dissolution.
In New York, laws are set up to protect the best interest of the child. Child custody lawyers and the courts will take a close look at the physical, emotional, and financial family dynamics in order to ensure that the children are best served in any custody determination.
When deciding child custody, the court will consider many factors:
● Where is the child currently residing and for how long?
● What is the environment like in each parent’s home?
● What is the mental, emotional, physical, and financial status for each parent?
● What are the parent’s work schedules?
● Which parent is better able to provide housing, food, medical attention, and education for the child?
● Which parent has better parenting skills?
● Is there a history of domestic abuse in the family?
● Is there a history of substance abuse for either parent?
● Are there any existing custody orders in place?
These are only a few of the many factors that will be considered by the courts in New York to determine child custody. When it comes to older children, the court may also consider the child’s preference when making custody determinations. Working with a top Manhattan divorce lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure a fair outcome of a child custody case.
In custody disputes, the courts will always attempt to rule in favor of what they determine to be in the best interests of the child. But what does this really mean?
The best interest of the child is an important legal standard that family law considers when making any custody and visitation determinations.
During a divorce, each party can get caught up in perceived emotional transgressions by the other party. Unwittingly, parents can often forget about the children’s best interests and get caught up in their own feelings of vulnerability and pain. During custody disputes, it’s important for parents to try put their own feelings of hurt aside for the long-term benefit of their children, ie. their “best interests”. However, in the real world, this may be hard to do.
Therefore, the legal system in New York is designed to be that objective third party. In New York, courts determine custody based on their findings of what will ultimately be best for a child’s emotional and physical health. The court will make their determinations, based on the information they are given, to promote and maintain a close and loving relationship with both parents, regardless of the acrimony of the moment. In these times, having a talented child custody attorney by your side can help you demonstrate your suitability for legal or physical custody. A great attorney can help you view the situation as the courts would view it, and present your case in a way that the court will view most favorably.
In the end, whether parents come to custody agreements between themselves, through negotiation between child custody lawyers, or that decision is made by a judge, the focus should always be on the best interests of the children.
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A child custody determination is an agreement between parties as to how they will make decisions about their children’s care and living arrangements. There are two basic types of child custody:
● Sole custody is a custody arrangement that allows one parent to make decisions about the children. Although the other parent (otherwise known as the non-custodial parent) may have the right to weigh in, the custodial parent has the ultimate decision-making rights.
● Joint child custody is one where both parents and sometimes other caregivers share the decision-making authority with regard to the children. Joint custody requires that parents communicate effectively in order to consider what is best for the child.
Sole legal child custody is where one parent has the right to make primary decisions concerning the children after a divorce. In the case of sole custody, the custodial parent makes decisions about important aspects of the children’s lives such as their health and safety, medical care, religious instruction, and education.
When the court is asked to make a determination regarding sole custody, it will look at several factors such as income, commitment, and ability to spend time with the child.
When a parent seeks sole custody in New York, a judge will weigh many factors in order to determine if this sole physical custody and sole legal custody is indeed in the best interests of the child.
Joint legal custody is when both parents share the responsibility of making important decisions with regard to the health and welfare of their children in a cooperative way.
The court will want to see that parents are able to put their personal differences aside in order to make the right decisions for their children.
Most couples are familiar with physical custody which determines where a child will legally reside. In the case of sole physical custody, the child will reside with one parent. In the case of joint physical custody, the child moves between parents.
Joint physical custody may not always involve a 50 percent split of time. In many cases, the children will move between parents in ways that are most convenient to both parents. The custody agreement will spell out specific details about how this time will be shared.
Legal custody determines which parents will make the major decisions affecting the life and welfare of the children. Sole legal custody provides that this decision making responsibility falls on the custodial parent whereas joint legal custody requires that both parents share in the decision-making processes for the benefit of the children.
It’s important for parents to understand that this is a legally binding agreement and the courts take it seriously. If one parent is preventing the other from taking part in these decisions under a joint legal custody arrangement, that parent can be held in contempt.
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Many divorcing couples are not aware that there are two distinctly different facets of child custody.
Although most are familiar with terms such as sole and joint custody, these are further broken down into the concepts of physical and legal custody in New York.
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The court may decide to award the physical custody of a child to one parent pending the resolution of a final determination or in the case of a legal separation by the parents in anticipation of a divorce. The other parent (non-custodial parent) will be given visitation rights under the temporary custody order.
The term visitation refers to that time given to the non-custodial parent to spend time with his or her children. The terms of visitation will be set out with a visitation schedule that specifies dates, times, and location parameters of when and where that parent is able to see the child.
Both parents are subject to the custody and visitation schedule and legally must abide by it. Failing to do so can have serious consequences. In the case where the court believes that it is necessary for the child’s safety and wellbeing, the court may require supervised visitation.
Most custody concerns are dealt with through the normal hearing process which may take a certain amount of time. But there are times when one parent is concerned that the child is in imminent risk of being harmed or removed from the state.
An emergency order, or ex parte order, is a temporary custody order that is initiated by that parent. A true emergency will then be streamlined in order to protect the safety of the child.
In the past, courts would presume that children would be best served with the mother as the custodial parent, however in our current landscape, this is no longer the case. Both parents are considered equally able to effectively parent their children.
Child custody considers many complex legal issues and will affect children for the short-term as well as the long-term. Having the aid of a child custody lawyer ensures that both parents’ and children’s best interests and rights are being legally represented and considered during a very emotional time.
If your custody arrangement is no longer serving you, you have the right to file a petition for a modification. This modification must still be in the best interests of the child, however. If both parents mutually agree on the modification, they may be able to work out a solution without a formal modification but there are legal downsides to doing so. Consequently, taking the appropriate legal steps with the assistance of a custody lawyer will be legally binding and safeguard everyone’s rights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Making the right decisions during a divorce can be extremely challenging. Yet, these decisions will have an impact on you and your children for years to come. With so many complex variables to consider, getting the legal advice and skill of an experienced New York child custody attorney will ensure that terms are negotiated to everyone’s benefit.
Contact us at the offices of Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer to see how we can help.
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