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A child custody order determines everything pertaining to the care, education, healthcare, and religion of a child. It also decides the most appropriate child custody arrangement.
Different Types of Custody Arrangements
There are different types of custody arrangements in New York.
• Physical Custody is given to the parent who will take care of the child every day of their life until they become an adult.
• Legal Custody is given to both parents if they are getting a divorce or have never been married, but agree to take care of their child together. In legal custody, either one or both parents are given the right to make important decisions about the education, medical care, and religion of their child. A parent might not have physical custody, but they may have joint legal custody and be allowed to participate in making any important decision that relates to the child.
• Grandparent Visitation and Custody can be granted under specific conditions.
• Joint Custody occurs when a child has to divide their time equally between their father and mother.
• Sole Custody awards exclusive legal and physical custody to one parent.
Custody arrangements come into play when parents are getting divorced and are trying to figure out how to divide the children’s’ time between them. They are also relevant where one parent wants to seek custody, but the two parents are not married. Legally, if parents are unmarried, the mother can prevent the father from seeing their child. This is legally remedied by the father going to court and demanding an order of paternity. The courts will decide whether they will be granted custody or paternity. The best interests of the child always come first before anything.
Who Can File for Custody of a Child?
In the State of New York, a person can file for custody or visitation rights as long as they can prove they have been and will continue to be important in the child’s upbringing. Extraordinary circumstances govern custody and visitation rights for non-parents. These include abandonment and imprisonment. It is common for grandparents to be given custody of their grandchildren in such cases.
Factors That Determine Child Custody Arrangements
Joint custody is one of the best decisions that the court can make because there is less emotional strain on the child than in other child custody agreements. However, there are several factors that help the courts in determining custody arrangements.
The wishes of the child matter a lot. However, the child has to be old enough to know what they prefer. The mental, physical and financial health of the parents also matter. Religious as well as cultural considerations are critical in making this decision. The extended family members of each parent are important as they provide a means of interaction and are critical in the upbringing of the child. Other factors that come into play include the age and sex of the child, drug and/or alcohol abuse, emotional and physical abuse of the child.
Any allegation against a parent should be accompanied by evidence if it is to be used in court. If a couple is getting divorced, then the parent who was the primary caregiver during the marriage can use this as evidence that they are the best person to take care of the child.
A petition for custody should be made in the county where the child lives and the court proceedings will take place in the Family Court.
If a child is found to be in physical danger, they can be placed in temporary custody with the petitioner. They can even be removed from the state. This only happens in very serious circumstances.
Once you are granted custody and guardianship of a child, and you are not their parent, you are given the right to enroll the child in public school.
How a Lawyer Can Help in a Child Custody Battle
If you are facing a child custody battle then getting a lawyer is the first step you should take. The best legal team will fight for your rights to have an active role in the upbringing of your children.