Albany Child Custody Lawyer
When you are involved in a child custody case, you want to do everything in your power to achieve the best possible result. The first step down the path toward that result is making sure that you have a skilled Albany child custody lawyer, experienced in these matters, by your side counseling and advocating for you and your child(ren). At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, we have been representing parents in these matters since 2005.
What are the Types of Custody in Albany?
Your role as a parent is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have. But when you separate or divorce, parenting can suddenly become much more complicated. To ease tensions and ensure that responsibilities are shared, parents must create a parenting or child custody plan that is approved by the courts. However, custody involves more than having your child live with you.
There are two forms of child custody:
- Legal Custody: the power to make life-changing and important decisions for your child, such as matters involving education, healthcare, and religious upbringing
- Physical Custody: the right to spend time with your child, tend to their needs, and be involved in their day-to-day activities
Both types of custody are equally valuable and important, and an Albany lawyer can help maintain your parent-child relationship during and after a divorce or separation.
We understand that most parents want strong parent-child relationships. We help our clients understand their legal options as well as craft custody plans that suit their family’s unique needs. Depending on your circumstances, that may involve the following:
- Sole custody
- Joint or shared custody
For practical, real-world advice from an Albany child custody attorney, contact The Colwell Law Group, LLC today.
How Child Custody Is Determined
When parents cannot agree on the terms of their custody arrangement, the court will step in and award parenting time. 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.
What Happens When a Child Custody Plan Isn’t Working Anymore?
Sometimes, a family’s circumstances change and their 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 custody order, you’ll need to file a series of court documents and present your arguments to a judge. Our dedicated attorneys in Albany could help someone modify their child custody order if they have grounds to do so.
Questions to Ask Your Child Custody Attorney
During your first meeting with a lawyer, ask questions that can help you determine whether this person 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 in Albany should be able to answer these questions with concrete examples from previous parenting time 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 Parenting Time Case
Your Albany lawyer should inspire confidence in you to seek a fair, appropriate parenting time 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 Child Custody Attorney
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 custody options, schedule an appointment with an Albany child custody lawyer in our office today.
When you work with 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.
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.