Child Custody

How do you protect your relationship with your children after divorce? If divorce is inevitable, your children will be affected. The best way to preserve your connection with your children is to ensure ongoing contact.

The Law Offices of Nicholas P. Barone can help you to effectively negotiate and resolve your custody issues to legally protect your relationship with your children. Contact our firm today to discuss your custody concerns.

Parental Custody Rights

Family law has evolved a long way in the last two generations. At one time, when a marriage ended the mother was presumed to get full custody and the father paid child support. The options now include shared child custody and joint child custody, and a parent's gender is less of a factor.

In New York, parents are generally the only people who may pursue custody of a child. Nonbiological individuals may only pursue custody if "extraordinary circumstances" are present, such as a situation where a biological parent has abandoned, continually neglected, surrendered or demonstrated that the parent is unfit to care for a child.

Understanding The Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody

Custody is typically discussed in two ways. Physical custody describes where a child lives and legal custody describes who has the right to make important decisions about a child's upbringing, such as religion, education and medical care.

When one parent is awarded physical custody of a child, the other parent is entitled to visitation. Visitation is more frequently being referred to as parenting time in acknowledgment that a noncustodial parent does much more than simply visit with children.

How Joint Custody Works In New York

When joint custody is ordered, it refers to the legal custody of a child. Both parents have a right to participate in decisions about a child's upbringing, and one parent has primary custody while the other has custody only part of the time. In a shared child custody arrangement, neither has primary physical custody. The child has two "homes." If one of these arrangements is desired, divorcing couples must show the court they are able to cooperate.

Joint custody also gives each parent the right to prohibit or deny a decision of the other parent. To ensure that parents will not block each other from making any decisions, courts will be reluctant to award joint custody if there is any indication that a couple cannot get along.

The Best Interest Standard And Preferences Of The Child

In determining which parent should have custody, the court must evaluate the suitability of each parent in light of his or her unique facts and circumstances. The court may be guided in part by considering a number of factors, which comprise what is known as the best interest standard. These include:

  • Parental age
  • Parental availability
  • Parental health and/or disability
  • Parental finances
  • Parental history of substance abuse
  • Parental history of domestic abuse
  • Parental mental and emotional stability
  • Parental behavior in court
  • Parental willingness to support a child's relationship with the other parent
  • Who has been the primary caretaker
  • Current home environment
  • Any history of neglect
  • Any existing agreements
  • Any existing siblings
  • Religion of the child
  • Law guardian recommendation
  • Marital fault
  • Child preferences

What Is Temporary Custody

When a divorce is still pending, a temporary custody order is often put into place. Known as a pendente lite order, these custody arrangements remain in place until the divorce can be finalized.

Contact A Skilled Family Law Attorney

Attorney Nicholas P. Barone has a reputation for bringing calm in the midst of a storm. You may be in turmoil at this point and uncertain about what will happen, but an experienced lawyer can:

  • Advise you on your options
  • Negotiate the best for you and your children
  • Litigate for you if settlement is not in the cards

Aside from these roles, Mr. Barone is an understanding and respectful professional. He is a trusted advocate and a very tough litigator, and he will fight hard for you when necessary.

To schedule a confidential consultation with our White Plains law office, contact our firm online or call 914-288-6283.