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In Bronx child custody cases, the laws can create challenges to settling disputes, where the relationships of the parties have already created a complex situation. Even where the parties seeking custody are in relative agreement in most matters, there still may be issues of contention and other details regulated by law that may not meet with either party’s expectations. In the end, the court will always attempt to do what’s best for the children involved, even if that may not be a settlement preferred by the parents.
Types of Custody Granted in Bronx Child Custody Courts
New York, much like many other states, has adopted the rules set forth by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The act helps courts settle custody cases that involve disputes that may extend over multiple jurisdictions in different states. The act is important, because determining various levels of custody requires that the child (or children) be accessible to both parties.
Legal Custody – This type of custody allows the parent or guardian to make important decisions regarding the child. These decisions can include the child’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and other important factors that affect the child’s development and happiness. In cases where one parent has sole legal custody, the other parent has no legal standing to change or alter those factors that affect the child’s growth.
Physical Custody – This is what most people think about in regard to child custody. It’s the living situation for the child and it’s a major issue for divorced parents. In determining the physical custody of the child, the court looks at the living conditions offered by each parent, as well as where the child will be happiest. Sometimes this means one parent only gets visitation rights and sometimes it means both parents share custody equally.
How is Child Custody Determined in Bronx Family Courts?
When it comes to hearing child custody cases, the ideal situation is to keep the family as close together as possible. It’s never preferred to take the children away from either parent. That said, it comes down to what’s in the best interests of the child and it’s up to the judge to make that determination based upon the evidence and testimony presented in court.
In New York State, family court judges take a number of factors into consideration:
When The Parents Aren’t An Option
In some cases, the courts may grant visitation rights to the child’s grandparents or may even grant them custody. This is not easily achieved in any state and most family court judges require strict adherence to the rules and laws established for these cases. Even where the grandparents are merely requesting visitation rights, it’s recommended that they be very familiar with the child’s living conditions and the immediate family situation.
As with parental custody, granting rights to the grandparents is dependant upon the best interests of the child, as determined by the court. When it comes to granting custody to grandparents, the court relies on a few key points to help them come to the decision that the child should be placed with the grandparents.
1. The Needs of the Child: While this does encompass things like food, shelter, and clothing, it also includes the physical and emotional well-being of the child. Additionally, the safety of the child is a main concern here.
2. The Capabilities of the Guardian: Regardless of who is petitioning the court for custody, the ability of the petitioner to provide care for the child must be concerned. In cases where a grandparent is seeking custody, is he or she physically capable of looking after a child? What about the individual’s mental fitness? These are hard questions, but ones the court must consider.
3. The Wishes of the Parties Involved: Here, also, the wishes of the child will be considered. Additionally, the court will seek the advice of the child’s parents on the matter, if possible, and also request input from the grandparents.
4. The Relationship Between Child and Grandparent: The court will look at the bond between the child and the grandparents in determining custody. This means evaluating how long they have known each other, as well as interpreting the emotional connection they share. The court will also try to ensure that there hasn’t been any domestic violence that might influence custody.
In seeking custody, it’s never recommended to attempt to represent yourself. As suggested by these facts, the laws surrounding child custody are complex and varied, requiring the expertise of an experienced family law attorney. The right lawyer may be able to help you avoid a lengthy legal battle by pursuing mediation as an option or he may be able to achieve your child custody goals in court. Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent and trying to give the child his or her best life, the best thing to do is to enlist the help of a knowledgeable advocate. Together, you can work as a team to do what’s best for the child and for yourself.
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