The issues surrounding child custody are difficult, emotional and of utmost importance to the parents and to the Court. All children under the age of l8 are subject to Custody Orders. According to New York State laws, courts do not favor either parent more than the other in making a decision concerning child custody. The standard is known as "gender neutral." The Supreme Court may hear and determine child custody in New York within the context of an Action for Divorce or Separation. The Family Court may also decide these issues. Having an attorney who practices primarily in the field of divorce and family law and who is familiar with the local courts and judges is crucial in child custody cases. We recommend that you contact our firm to arrange a free consultation with our experienced attorneys today.
So, how does the Court determine custody? In custody cases, the court's top priority is fashioning a decision that is in child's best interests. When deciding what is best for the child, the court will consider such factors as:
The physical and mental health of the parents.
The physical and mental needs of the child.
Which parent has served as the main caregiver for the child.
Any special needs of the child.
If there is a history of domestic violence.
Both parents' schedules and ability to properly care for the child.
The financial situations of both parents.
The child's relationships with other family members.
Each parent's ability and willingness to cooperate with the other.
The child's wishes, depending on their age.
This list is just some of the factors a Court may consider when determining custodial placement of a child. As your attorneys, it is our job to ensure that the Court is presented with sound legal arguments that highlight those factors which best increase your chances of obtaining custody. We have successfully handled hundreds of custody cases over the years and our expertise can navigate you through the complexities of Supreme Court or Family Court, ensuring that you obtain the best possible result for you and your family.
Child custody in New York can result in one of many labels. Generally, those labels are either sole custody or joint custody. A parent having sole physical custody of a child will result in the child living with that parent, while the other parent has limited decision making abilities and visitation rights. Those rights are specified days and times when the non-custodial parent has parenting time with the child.
Another option is joint custody. Joint custody allows the child to reside with the primary parent as the main custodian, while the other parent is legally allowed to participate in the decision-making process on such major issues involving health, education, religion and general welfare of the child.
Joint custody is something that the Courts do not typically award after a trial, rather, this arrangement is typically reached by a settlement between the two parties. The primary reason the Courts do not usually award joint custody is that it requires both parents to work together and cooperate. The Courts cannot force the parties in high conflict cases to cooperate with one another. It is seldom that a Court would place the disputing parties in a position that requires them to work together after a custody battle. Thus, for joint custody to work, both parents must have a good working relationship with each another and remain focused on putting their differences aside for the sake of their child's best interests.
Regardless of the type of custody you are seeking, you will need a competent and skilled negotiator as well as a seasoned litigator. Since these matters are extremely complex and quite sensitive in nature, our firm will ensure that your custody case starts out on the right foot and stays focused on your interests.
Custody and visitation matters can be handled in either Supreme Court or Family Court. For children born out of wedlock, custody and visitation matters are handled almost exclusively by the Family Court for a variety of reasons. There are some instances where the Supreme Court is used to deal with these issues, but only a skilled matrimonial and family law practitioner is well suited to properly advise you.