Child Custody / Visitation

The most important issue in any divorce or family court matter is the issue involving custody of your child or children. An agreement regarding custody or the Court’s decision on a custody matter will affect you and your children for the rest of your lives.

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The Importance of Custody

It is important to understand that custody is a general term that includes both decision making for your child or children, as well as where your child or children will primarily reside. A determination of custody, whether it be by agreement or determined by the Court system affects where your child will live, how often they will see the non-custodial parent, what school district your children attend and every other facet of their lives.

When your children’s future on the line, you need to be confident that you are going above and beyond to ensure that the best possible resolution is reached. By working with a New York child custody lawyer from Cozzo Law, you can breathe easier knowing you will have a seasoned, experienced, and aggressive advocate on your side.

Best Interests of the Child

New York Domestic Relations Law §70(a) dictates that:
“in all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent, but the court shall determine solely what is for the best interest of the child, and what will best promote its welfare and happiness , and make award accordingly”

The courts understand this to mean as follows:
In a custody proceeding arising out of a dispute between divorced parents, the first concern of the court is and must be the welfare and the interests of the children. Their interests are paramount. The rights of their parents must, in the case of conflict, yield to that superior demand. Lincoln v. Lincoln, 24 N.Y.2d 270, 299 N.Y.S.2d 842, 247 N.E.2d 659 (1969).

This statutory standard, as applied by the courts, is known as the best interest of the child standard. When the courts become involved in a determination of your family’s post-divorce dynamic, the court is going to make such a determination using the best interest of the child standard.

What Are the Different Types of Child Custody?

In order to better suit the unique needs of each family and child, there are a variety of custody arrangements. In New York, there are two types of custody: “Physical Custody” and “Legal Custody.” Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with, and legal custody refers to which parent has the legal authority and duty to make important decision’s regarding the child’s life. For each of these categories, one parent might be granted “sole custody” or both parents might be granted “joint custody”.

  • Sole Physical Custody: When a child only lives with one parent. The non-custodial parent is usually granted visitation.
  • Joint Physical Custody: When the child lives with both parents at different times
  • Sole Legal Custody: When only one parent has the ultimate authority to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, healthcare, extracurricular activities, etc.
  • Joint Legal Custody: When both parents must work together to make important decisions about their child’s life

Issues to Consider in a Child Custody Case

If you and your spouse wish to carry out an uncontested divorce, you will both need to agree on how your child custody arrangements will work. If you do not agree, the divorce becomes “contested” and the custody matter will be taken to court. Leaving the decision up to a judge can be risky, as you might not receive the custody rights you are entitled to. If you require assistance in the midst of a dispute regarding child custody or need help with child support enforcement, one of our experienced New York Family Court attorneys can help.

Call our office at 631-234-2070 to set up a consultation today.

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