Helping You Understand How Child Custody Is Determined in New York
When parents cannot agree on the terms of their child custody arrangement, the court will step in and award child custody. Like most states, New York law considers the “best interests of the child” when it awards child custody. Notably, the parent’s gender is not a consideration in a custody dispute, and both mothers and fathers have an equal right to parenting time and custody.
What Factors Does the Court Consider?
At the core of all child custody determinations is one goal: providing the child with the arrangement that is in his or her best interest. This is not a subjective determination; it is based on a set of factors that include the following:
- Whether there is a history of domestic violence with either parent;
- Which parent acted as the primary caregiver for the child;
- Each parent’s current physical and mental health state;
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other and the court;
- Any special needs the child has and each parent’s ability to provide for these needs;
- Each parent’s work schedule and financial capacity to care for a child;
- The child’s relationships with other members of each parent’s household, such as siblings and extended family; and
- If the child is old enough to form a logical opinion about where to live, the child’s preference may be considered.
As you can see, each parent’s gender does not factor into a child’s custody determination. These factors are also used when determining a visitation schedule for a child.
Sometimes, this analysis requires insight from experts, such as the child’s physician, psychologist, or a social worker. The court can also appoint a guardian ad litem, or a neutral third party who speaks on behalf of the child during a custody dispute.
How an Albany Child Custody Lawyer Can Help
When you work with an Albany NY child custody lawyer at The Colwell Law Group, we will work closely with you and investigate your child’s unique circumstances. When necessary, we consult with experts and obtain testimony that substantiates our clients’ proposed custody arrangements — and fight for parenting plans that ensure our clients’ time with their children and enable an easier transition to a new co-parenting lifestyle.
What Happens When a Child Custody Plan Isn’t Working Anymore?
Sometimes, a family’s circumstances change and their child custody plan is no longer practical. This is common as your child ages, when a parent moves out-of-state, is deployed on active military duty, or remarries. If you need help modifying a child custody order, you’ll need to file a series of court documents and present your arguments to a judge. For more information about this process, contact our office.
Questions to Ask Your Child Custody Lawyer
During your first meeting with a child custody lawyer, ask questions that can help you determine whether the lawyer is a good fit for your case. A few questions to consider asking include the following:
- What experience do you have advocating for parents with my specific circumstances? For example, same-sex parents can face certain challenges that heterosexual parents do not;
- How should I handle false accusations from my former spouse?
- What challenges have you faced in previous child custody cases and how did you overcome them?
- How can I modify my child custody order if I am not satisfied with the court’s ruling?
Your lawyer should be able to answer these questions with concrete examples from previous cases. Express your goals, such as a 50/50 parenting time split or sole residential custody of your child. Your lawyer should then be able to realistically assess your goals and tell you what you can expect from the court as you pursue them.
Developing the Right Strategy for Your Child Custody Case
Your lawyer should inspire confidence in you to seek a fair, appropriate child custody arrangement. To do this, your lawyer will develop a personalized strategy for your case, which can involve testimonies from outside professionals like a child custody evaluator. Other adults in your child’s life, such as his or her teacher or pediatrician, can also provide valuable testimony about your parenting ability and your relationship with your child. To back up any questions about your financial ability to provide for a child, you may need to provide documentation of your earnings and assets.
In some cases, a child custody strategy can require a parent to prove allegations to be false. If you are facing allegations of domestic violence or substance abuse, your lawyer can help you obtain the necessary evidence to prove your innocence.
Speak to an Albany NY Child Custody Lawyer
The Colwell Law Group assists parents with a wide variety of child custody matters including initial parenting plans, modifications, terminations, and enforcement actions. If you have any questions about you and your child’s legal rights as well as child custody options, schedule an appointment with a child custody lawyer in our office today.
Providing Capital Region Parents With Exceptional Advocacy in Child Custody Battles Since 2005
Our firm’s mission is simple, to provide quality, client-centered, legal representation in child custody, divorce and family law cases. In order to do so, we:
- Help our clients define their personal needs and goals for the litigation
- Set forth an appropriate legal strategy to achieve those goals
- Maintain open and ongoing communication with our clients
- Work as a team to achieve a successful outcome
When fighting for custody of your child(ren), it is crucial that you have an advocate you can trust on your side. Fortunately, that is exactly what you will find when you turn to The Colwell Law Group, LLC. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation and get started on the future you and your child(ren) deserve.