Child Custody / Visitation

The most critical issue in any divorce or family court matter involves 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 decision-making for your child or children and 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 is 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 court’s first concern is and must be the welfare and the best interests of the children. Their interests are paramount. In the case of conflict, their parents’ rights must 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).

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

What Are the Different Types of Child Custody?

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 must agree on how your child custody arrangements will work. If you disagree, 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 during 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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