New York Joint Custody Lawyer

Joint Custody: Defined

When children are involved in a divorce or separation, joint custody is defined as a custodial provision in which both parents partake in the upbringing of a minor child. Joint custody in New York is frequently contrasted with sole custody. Under a sole custody arrangement, only one parent acts in the primary role in the rearing of their mutual child.

The “ Interests of the Child” Standard

When a court renders decisions in a custody case, they make their decisions based on what they believe to be “the interests of the child”. The court is able to consider who’s been the primary caregiver for the child up until this point. They assess the parenting skills of both parents. Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence weighs heavily in the court’s decision. Everything, down to a parent’s work schedule, can play a part in making custody decisions.

In the great majority of cases, the court awards at least some parenting time to both of the parents. The court’s objective is for children to have a strong relationship with both of their parents in whatever arrangement works for the child’s health and safety. No two cases are exactly alike, so it’s critical to carefully prepare your case for the court’s consideration.

Establishing Your Parenthood

When getting a divorce, it is important to establish your rights to parenthood. Putting yourself back together after a failed relationship can be a tremendous effort, but while going through this process, it is critical to reach out to lawyers that are able to protect your rights. When it comes to raising a child after a divorce, joint custody is often the ideal situation. This way, both parents will get a fair opportunity to see their child and raise them.

Start out with the strategies in this article so that you can make the most out of your divorce, while still staying in your child’s life.

Joint Custody is Not a Presumption

A New York court doesn’t come into a child custody case with the assumption that joint custody is what’s for a child. Instead, you need to collaborate with a New York City joint custody attorney in order to make your petition for joint custody. You’ll need to demonstrate to the court why you believe it’s in the interests of the child to share custody with both parents.

The New York benchmark case of Trolf v. Trolf talks about some situations where joint custody might be appropriate. They said in this case that the court might award joint custody where the parents can get along reasonably well. Judges look for situations where the parents can be civil with one another and cooperate for the welfare of their children.

Even some disagreements in marriage shouldn’t stop a qualified parent from having joint custody. It is not that important that the parents get along with each other. What is key is whether they can reasonably cooperate for the good of the children.

Tips for Success in Joint Custody

#1: Hire a lawyer that focuses on establishing joint custody

The lawyer that you hire will be the most important part of securing custody. It is an unfortunate fact that divorce law and parental law are some of the most treacherous cases that people deal with. It can be incredibly adversarial, so rather than playing into this, you need to hire a lawyer that is very fair with each case and strives to foster joint custody agreements as opposed to bitter court proceedings. Filing joint custody and settling the case as quickly as possible is less expensive for you and better for your child.


When it comes to New York custody laws, the judge will determine the most beneficial arrangement for the child. The judge’s consideration begins with where the child lives now, where they go to school and which parent is most capable of providing shelter and consistency. After going through these issues, the judge will help you to put together a joint custody agreement, as you and your lawyer go through negotiations with your ex.

#2: Do your to build a rapport with your ex

No matter what happens in your legal case, it is very critical that you reach out to your spouse and have a heart to heart about how the two of you will raise your children outside of the relationship. You’d be surprised how much goodwill can be fostered through honest conversation. By building this rapport, the two of you can do much of this work outside of contentious court battles and can instead do what is for each other and the children. Your lawyer can also be there to help you out with mediation.

#3: Make sure you are aware of the law and every matter of the case while it is playing out

It is your responsibility to understand New York custody laws when going through the case. This will keep you aware of visitation rights and what must be done to file a petition to change any standing arrangements. Keep in touch with your lawyer as well so that they are able to answer questions that you might have during the process at any time.

Physical Custody Versus Legal Custody

There are two types of custody in New York family court matters. They are legal custody and physical custody. If a parent has legal custody of their child, they are responsible for making major decisions about the child’s upbringing. That is, they make choices as to where the child goes to school, whether they get medical care and their religious training. One parent could have sole legal custody.  In some scenarios, parents share legal custody. When parents share legal custody, they need to agree on major decisions for the child.

On the other hand, physical custody is who cares for the child most of the time.  This is also referred to as residential custody. If a parent has the majority of the parenting time with the child, they have primary custody. When parents split up the time with the child more or less equally, they share physical custody. When a child is with their parent, that parent can make the routine decisions about the child’s day including their eating, sleeping, discipline and entertainment.

What happens if I don’t win joint custody?

In the great majority of cases, both parents are awarded significant amounts of parenting time with their children. Even if you didn’t win joint custody, the chances are great that you’ll still have significant time with your child. If there are deep concerns, a parent might only have parenting time under limited conditions such as orders not to consume alcohol or substances. A parent may have their parenting time supervised by a third party if the court feels that it’s for the children’s safety.

So with these tips in mind, one step you can take is to contact the law firm of the Spodek Law Group. This is a family law firm that has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to New York family law. These attorneys will keep you in the game when it comes to establishing custody and making the most out of your parental rights. Think about these tips and you’ll get help when going through your divorce case.