Family Lawyer in Westchester
Important topics regarding Child Custody
Family Lawyer Westchester
Child custody is frequently one of the more difficult and contentious aspects of the divorce process when a married couple with children files for divorce. The parents must divide their time with the child because they no longer live together. It is not required by New York law to divide.
The fundamental rule that the court will adhere to is doing what is best for the child. It is clear how challenging it might be to decide who gets to decide child custody among parents as there is no predetermined “formula”. In addition to the fact that deciding how a kid should be raised by parents who live apart is inherently challenging, our knowledgeable Westchester child custody attorneys are aware of how sensitive and significant this legal issue can be. You can better grasp how the procedure works by reading the outline of New York’s child custody legislation that is provided below.
Child's best interest
Child Custody Types
Physical custody and legal custody are the two main categories of child custody in New York. Where a kid resides is referred to as physical or residential custody. Legal custody is the term used to describe a parent’s authority to make critical choices for their child’s future. The child’s education, religious upbringing, and health are the three main areas that often come under legal custody.
In addition to the fact that deciding how a kid should be raised by parents who live apart is inherently challenging, our knowledgeable Westchester child custody attorneys are aware of how sensitive and significant this legal issue can be. You can better grasp how the procedure works by reading the outline of New York’s child custody legislation that is provided below.
Legal and physical custody might both be “sole” or “joint.” Joint legal custody implies both parents have an equal voice in significant choices about the child’s upbringing, whereas sole legal custody means only one parent may make those decisions. Similar to shared legal custody, single physical custody entails that one parent—the custodial parent—will have visiting rights while the kid spends all or a significant portion of time with the other. When a kid has joint physical custody, they live with both parents for about equal periods (or as near to 50/50 as feasible).
In New York, who may obtain child custody?
- Both the mother and the legal father may request custody. A man is considered to be a legal father if he has acknowledged his paternity in writing, has obtained a court-issued Order of Filiation or is named as the child’s father on the birth certificate. The man is identified as the child’s legal father in each of these documents. See the Paternity in New York article.
- When a kid was conceived by artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization with the husband’s written consent, there is a presumption that the spouse of the birth mother is also the child’s parent.
- By a recent judgment ruled in 2016, the domestic partner of a kid’s birth or adoptive parent may in some circumstances acquire parental rights, even if that person was not married to the parent indicated on the child’s birth certificate and did not adopt the child. It could be necessary for the ex-partner to provide evidence that they and the other parent had consented to have the kid and raise it jointly.
- No parent has a superior claim to custody. If there is no custody agreement, the kid may remain with either parent.
- The child’s friends and family have the right to petition the court for custody. They must first demonstrate that there are “exceptional circumstances” that would allow them to request custody before either parent. Situations like parental surrender, abandonment, severe neglect, unfitness, or prolonged interruption of custody are examples of extraordinary circumstances. The legislation identifies two years as an extended amount of time. If they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, they must also demonstrate that giving custody to the non-parent is in the child’s best interest.
How the Court Decides on Child Custody
Even if both parents’ interests in a child custody dispute are genuine, the kid’s interests always come first. The specifics of each case will determine what “best interests” means. Courts take into account:
- The court will consider the child’s requests, but the weight the court gives to such wants will depend on the child’s age.
- Which parent has been the child’s primary caretaker.
- Each parent’s capacity as a parent.
- Any prior domestic or child abuse.
- Any prior domestic or child abuse.
- How well-adjusted the parents are to one another.
- The state of each parent’s physical and emotional well-being.
- The work schedule for each parent.
The following things won’t be taken into account by the court while deciding on child custody:
- The parents’ spirituality.
- Race of the parents.
- Parents’ sexual preferences.
- Parental sexual conduct, including instances in which adultery was used as grounds for divorce.
However, the court may take into account any of the aforementioned parental circumstances if they would be detrimental to the child’s best interests.
Custody determinations do not necessarily require the involvement of the court. In an uncontested divorce, the court just needs to approve the divorce; property distribution, spousal support, and child support are not matters that must be decided by the judge. The court won’t have to decide on child custody if the parents can agree on how to share the time and responsibilities involved in raising the child. However, the court will intervene and impose a custody order if the parents cannot agree on the child’s care.
How a Custody Order is Issued by the Court
In these situations, the court will schedule a hearing when both parents will testify. Other witnesses who might testify in court include mental health specialists who have treated the kid or parents, the child’s relatives, and the child’s teachers. If more inquiry is required, the court may send social workers or mental health specialists to the parents’ residences to look around and speak with anybody else residing there. The court will make a judgment and issue the custody order after reviewing all the information.
Can a parent modify the custody ruling?
Parents are permitted to modify a custody arrangement, but only after proving a material change in circumstances. Courts prefer not to have kids switch between parents more often than required and will only change their original custody decision if there is an exceptionally excellent basis to do so.
A Knowledgeable Child Custody Attorney Can Help
It may be challenging for a court to determine how to divide a kid’s time between the parents in various circumstances since it isn’t always clear what is best for the youngster. Consult with a knowledgeable Westchester attorney who is aware of the procedure and the considerations judges make in these instances if you need counsel about child custody.