Saratoga Springs Child Custody Lawyer
One of the most challenging parts of divorce or separation is the decision about child custody. You and your co-parent may each have options about where your children will live. The court will make custodial decisions if parents cannot agree. A Saratoga Springs child custody lawyer can help you navigate these challenging decisions and support the best interest of your children.
You may already have a custody order and need to change it for some reason. Perhaps you want to move out of state for a job. A skilled family attorney can advocate for you in the many scenarios that arise around residency.
The Types of Child Custody
There are two main categories of child custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority around a child’s health, education, and religion. Residential custody involves a schedule of where the child lives. Parents can share both responsibilities or, for example, one parent may have more of a stake in the legal decision-making and less in the residential realm.
There is no legal preference for one parent over another, and courts always encourage parental input and agreement in custody cases during a divorce. Sole custody means one parent has complete legal or residential (physical) custody. Generally, this only happens if the other parent is absent or “unfit.” A knowledgeable lawyer in Saratoga Springs can guide clients around these complex and crucial matters.
Modification of Custody Arrangements
Once parties reach an agreement, it will be filed with the court, and parents cannot change arrangements without the consent of the court. However, circumstances can change over decades of parenthood, and one or both parents might need to modify the agreement. Parents can do this voluntarily or through a court process. Either way, the revised agreement must be in writing and filed with the court.
New York courts always use the standard of what is in the “best interest” of the children. Courts are understandably vigilant about protecting children and work hard to ensure their safety and welfare.
Custody and Child Support
Every child is entitled to financial support from both parents. In most arrangements, one parent has primary residential or physical custody of the children. The parent of alternate residence will owe child support to the co-parent, based on state child support guidelines. These guidelines consider the amount of time the child resides with each parent, the income and earning ability of both parents, and the child’s needs. Once parties establish custody, an attorney or the court can assist in calculating support obligations.
Sometimes the primary residential parent needs to move. Perhaps that parent has a good job offer elsewhere or wants to be closer to family support. A parent cannot make that move without court approval, and a skilled family lawyer can help.
Factors a Court Considers in Custody Cases
Courts strongly encourage parental cooperation and agreement in making custody arrangements. It is always in the children’s and the parents’ best interest to incorporate the family’s specific needs when creating a parenting plan. In the absence of agreement, a court will step in and consider a myriad of factors to establish custody.
These factors include things like each parent’s relationship with the child and the parent’s ability to care for that child. A court also considers things like the co-parents’ mental and physical health as well as any history of domestic violence. The court may deem a parent unfit if there is evidence of substance abuse, violence, mental illness, or other pressing issues that may impact a child’s safety.
With the help of an experienced child custody lawyer in Saratoga Springs, a party can gather evidence to support their desired custody arrangement. As always, the preeminent consideration is the best interest of the children.
Reach Out to a Saratoga Springs Child Custody Lawyer for Help
There is a lot at stake when deciding custody arrangements for your children. Even after the decision, you may find life evolves in ways that require changes. Our team of Saratoga Springs child custody lawyers stands ready to help you with all the legal support you need in a challenging time. Reach out for the information and advocacy you need. Call today.