Poughkeepsie Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody and visitation are some of the most contentious issues in co-parenting families. While disputes over parental rights and responsibilities often occur during divorce proceedings, these conflicts can also arise between parents who have never been married.
When determining how parents will share or split custody, the Court has an obligation to make decisions based on what is best for the children. The most valuable way to protect your parental rights is with the help of a Poughkeepsie child custody lawyer. A family law attorney at The Colwell Law Group is available to help you reach a fair custody arrangement.
Understanding Types of Custody
Parents must decide on two types of custody in a comprehensive arrangement for their child. Physical custody describes the parent that the child primarily resides with. This type of custody can be “joint,” meaning the child splits their time between the homes of each parent.
Parents must also decide how they will split legal custody. A parent that holds legal custody of a minor child has the right to make vital life decisions on the child’s behalf, including decisions about medical care and religious upbringing. An experienced attorney could further explain how child custody works in Poughkeepsie and provide guidance to parents navigating disputes over these issues.
Who Gets Custody?
When both parents can reach an agreement on the terms of a child custody arrangement, they can do so without going to Court. A judge will typically agree to formalize this agreement so long as they do not see a threat to the child’s well-being.
When parents cannot agree on who should get custody, it is up to the Court to determine what arrangement is in the child’s best interests. There are different factors the Court will consider while determining who gets custody, including the health of all parties and the financial stability of each parent. The Court will typically only reject a request for at least joint custody if there is any history of domestic abuse. Both parents will get the opportunity to advocate for their proposed child custody arrangement, and a skilled Poughkeepsie attorney may represent a parent’s needs in these proceedings.
Can Child Custody Orders Be Modified?
When a Court issues a child custody Order, it remains in effect until the child is emancipated or reaches the age of 18. However, there are situations where a judge can modify the terms of an existing custody order while a child is still a legal minor. Both parents have the right to request the modification of the child custody agreement but should know the Family Court will not modify a custody Order on a whim.
For the Court to approve a new child custody Order, the parent seeking modification must demonstrate that there has been a material change in circumstances. A material change typically has a significant on a parent’s ability to financially support a child. Some examples of material changes include having another baby, losing a job, and developing a permanent disability.
Along with proving there is a reasonable change in circumstances, parents must demonstrate how the suggested modifications would serve the child’s best interests instead of disrupting their lifestyle. A proactive legal professional could help parents in Poughkeepsie understand the process of modifying a child custody Order and advocate for a new agreement in Court.
Call a Poughkeepsie Child Custody Attorney Today
If you intend to divorce the parent of your child or are currently facing a dispute over child custody, it is vital that you have the support of seasoned legal counsel. The right attorney could help protect your parental rights and your child’s well-being.
Do not navigate these proceedings alone. Call a Poughkeepsie child custody lawyer right away to learn more.