Long Island Family Court Lawyers
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A court must make child custody and support orders in every New York divorce or custody matter. The guiding principle in a child support matter is to consider the child’s best interests. The court has a great deal of discretion to fashion what they believe is an appropriate order.
Types of custody
When the court makes a custody decision, they must award both physical and legal custody. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about the child’s upbringing. This can include where the child goes to school, their religious upbringing and important medical decisions. If the court thinks that the parties can cooperate to make these decisions, they might award joint legal custody.
Physical custody is the parent that has actual, physical care of the child. When a parent has the child, they can make routine decisions for the child. In long island and in all of New York, there is no presumption of joint custody. In addition, neither parent has a preference when it comes to deciding custody. If the parties are able to cooperate and their locations allow, the court can award equal physical custody.
What does the court consider?
When the court looks at the case in order to determine the best interests of the child, the court considers the physical and mental fitness of the parents. The court considers whether the parents are able to provide appropriate care for the child. Domestic violence is another important consideration. If there’s domestic violence, the court must consider how the domestic violence might impact the children.
The court has wide latitude to take the circumstances of the case into account. For example, if a parent has an unusual work schedule or seasonal schedule changes, the court can take this into account. The court can also consider the child’s preference. When the court considers a child’s wishes, they should take the child’s age into account.
The court must consider child support and award it if it’s appropriate. This is the case even where there the parents have equal physical custody. Each parent must use a percentage of their income for the support of the child.
If there’s one child involved, this amount is seventeen percent of the parent’s net income. This percentage rises with each additional child until it’s thirty-five percent for five or more children. The court must then apportion the amounts between the parents based on how much parenting time they each spend with the child.
Even though this seems simple, child support determinations are often a matter of debate. A parent’s income might include business income, interest income and assets that could be invested to produce additional income. The court often has to make a judgment call as to whether certain income or deductions count for a child support calculation. It’s important to work with a Long Island family court lawyer in order to help you prepare evidence to present to the court.
The court also makes determinations about how each party should contribute to the child’s health insurance expenses. The court can order one or both parents to obtain health insurance for the child. If a parent fails to get health insurance when they’re ordered to, they might be solely responsible for the child’s health care expenses. Child care costs are another important addition to child support costs.
How long do custody and child support orders last?
In New York, custody orders end at age eighteen. However, a parent must financially support their children until they are twenty-one years of age. This means child support. This can also mean paying for educational expenses for a child under the age of twenty-one. The court can consider a parent’s ability to pay and the child’s academic achievements when they decide whether to order a parent to pay for post-secondary expenses.
Are custody orders difficult to change?
It’s important to work with a long island family court attorney no matter what stage you’re at in a custody proceeding. That’s because courts usually hesitate to modify child custody orders once they’re in place. The courts think that children need stability. For that reason, it takes a great deal of evidence to convince the court to make any changes to an order once it’s in place.
If you need to change an order, it’s critical to work with an attorney on how to approach the case. You might need to gather evidence of your child’s school records and medical records. You might also need to gather opinions from experts, your employer, the other parent’s employer or even criminal records.
Work with us
At Spodek Law Group, we know that custody cases are tough. We’re here to be your partner and your teammate as we work together in order to help you get a workable custody order that allows you to have the best possible relationship with your child. Please contact us today to talk about your case.