Fighting for the custody of your child may be one of the most exhausting–if not the most important–legal battles in which you ever engage. Which is why if you are seeking custody of your child in Schoharie County, hiring an experienced New York child custody lawyer who is familiar with the law to represent you is a smart idea. At the law offices of The Colwell Law Group, our experienced child custody attorneys are here to work for you, and help to protect your and your child’s best interests.
Schoharie County Child Custody Laws: Understanding Custody Types
The first thing that is important to understand when you are seeking custody of your child involves the types of child custody that are recognized in the state of New York. New York recognizes two types of custody:
- Legal custody, which refers to the right to make important decisions about the child’s life; and
- Physical custody, or residential custody, which refers to the who’s responsible for the child’s physical care and upbringing (i.e. with whom the child lives).
Custody may be shared or sole. When physical custody is sole, this means that a judge awards one parent the right to provide care for the child more than 50 percent of the time; in this case, the noncustodial parent may be given visitation rights. Even if physical custody is not shared, however, legal custody may be joint. The specifics will depend on the best interests of the child.
How a Court Makes a Decision About the Legal and Physical Custody
Parents are always encouraged to come to an agreement about the legal and physical custody of a shared child or children out of court via the creation of a parenting plan. Mediation, where both parents work with a third party mediator to come to an agreement, is highly recommended, and may even be ordered by the court. When parents make a decision together about custody of their child, they mitigate the stress of court, as well as save time and money.
Of course, parents are not always able to work together. When this is the case, they may need to go to court and place the decision in the hands of a judge. If a Schoharie County judge is responsible for making a child custody decision, they will do so based on the best interests of the child. To determine the child’s best interests, a court will consider:
- Which parent is the primary caregiver;
- The mental and physical health of all parties involved;
- Each parent’s strengths and weaknesses as a parent;
- The child’s preference, depending upon the child’s age and maturity level;
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other parent and promote a loving relationship between the child and the other parent; and
- The relationship that the child has with others in the home or community.
Helping You Seek Custody of Your Child
The idea of losing custody of your child is likely very painful. Whether you are seeking joint custody, sole custody, or visitation, our Schoharie County child custody lawyers at The Colwell Law Group can help. Please call us today to schedule a consultation, or send us a message by filling out the contact form on our website.