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staten island child custody lawyers

When a couple with a child separates or gets a divorce, there are a wide range of child custody laws that apply in the state of New York. However, trying to sort through all of these laws on your own can be frustrating, which is why it’s heavily recommended that you seek the advice and representation of Staten Island child custody lawyers. Here at Spodek Law Group, we offer representation for child custody cases and will strive to obtain the best result possible for you.

What Are New York Child Custody Laws?

New York comes with a large number of very specific child custody laws that can differ wildly depending on the situation the child is in. If the parents of the child don’t go to court or no court order is made, it’s assumed that the parents have equal rights to both legal and physical custody of the child.

There are two basic types of child custody laws in NY, known as legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is defined by whoever has custody over the larger decisions in the child’s life, which can include everything from medical care to where the child goes to school. In many instances, parents will share legal custody unless there’s a strong enough reason as to why one parent shouldn’t have any say over these decisions. However, both parents will be required to have a discussion about these issues. If a final decision can’t be made, the court could eventually have a say in the decision.

The other type of custody that you should be aware of is physical custody, which typically refers to the living situation for the child in question. When the parents have shared physical custody, there will be a set amount of time allotted for each parent to take care of the child, which extends to supervision of the child. Unless one parent is provided with full custody of the child, the most common physical custody agreement has the child living with one parent during the week and the other during the weekend. Agreements on which parent has the child during the week and which one has custody during the weekend can usually be made before the custody case ever goes to court, which is definitely something that you should look into.

When a custody case is taken to court in New York, the custody arrangements are based entirely on what’s best for the interests of the child. The courts will take a wide range of factors into consideration before making a decision on what’s best for the child. Some of these factors include the ability each parent has to take care of the child, the mental and physical health of each parent, if there is any history of physical abuse in the family, work schedules for both parents, what the child wants, and whether or not the parents even have the ability to remain civil with one another.

Since custody rights are so complicated and comprehensive, it’s absolutely essential that you have child custody lawyers like us on hand to ensure that your case is represented well. has more details about child custody laws and how they might apply to you.

How An Attorney Can Assist With Your Case

An attorney is necessary during any child custody case, especially if you and the other parent of the child have disagreements about certain aspects of physical and legal custody. It’s possible for these agreements to be made during mediation before ever going to court, which is basically a small session with both parents and a mediator to iron out the details of the custody agreements without going to court. Both parents will need to agree on every aspect of custody, from visitation rights and where the child will go to school to certain medical care details. Legal representation is allowed in a mediation, which is something we can help with, allowing you to better understand when the agreement might not be fair to you. You can find out more about mediation at

If you and the other parent of the child can’t come to an agreement on the details of the custody, we can help you file a custody petition so that the case can be heard in front of a judge. This is where all of the previous factors will come into play that will determine the physical and legal custody of your child, which is where we can be of great assistance. We will identify the best arguments to make in your case and will get all of the documentation ready for you so that you can focus on what’s best for your child. If you require representation for your child custody case, call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Child custody law is one of the most important fields of law in the State of New York. Most parents want what’s best for their children, but the legal system can be intimidating and confusing. It can be hard to know how to advocate for yourself and for your children. Our team of Staten Island custody lawyers can help.

The “Best Interests of the Child” Standard

When a court makes decisions in a custody case, they base those decisions on the best interests of the child. The court can consider who’s been the primary caregiver for the child. They look at the parenting skills of both parents. Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence plays heavily into the court’s decision. Even a parent’s work schedule can play a role in making custody decisions.

In the vast majority of cases, the court awards at least some parenting time to both parents. The courts want children to have a strong relationship with both of their parents in an arrangement that’s best for the child’s health and safety. No two cases are exactly alike, so it’s important to carefully prepare your case for the court’s consideration.

Joint Custody: A Clear Definition

Where children are concerned, joint custody represents a custodial provision in which both parents partake in the upbringing of a minor child. Joint custody in New York is commonly contrasted with sole custody. Under a sole custody arrangement, only one parent plays the primary role in the rearing of their minor child.

Never a Presumption of Joint Custody

In Staten Island Family Court, the judge doesn’t begin a case with any assumptions in mind that joint custody is the best case scenario for the children. On the contrary, it would behoove you to retain a Staten Island joint custody attorney to put in your request for joint custody of your children. You will have to explain to the court why you believe it’s in the best interests of the child for them to be under the shared custody of both parents.

Scenarios where joint custody is optimal were documented in the New York case Trolf v. Trolf. The court can grant joint custody to couples who can get along reasonably well in coparenting. The case demonstrated that the best situations are those in which the parents can be friendly with one another and work collaboratively for the good of their children.

Difficulty getting on the same page with your spouse in a marriage shouldn’t prevent you from having joint custody of your children if you are a qualified mother or father. It doesn’t matter if the parents are not besties. What makes coparenting work, and joint custody possible, is whether they can reasonably cooperate for the sake of the children.

Legal and Physical Custody

There are two types of custody in Staten Island custody law. These are called physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is who directly cares for the child on a day to day basis. Legal custody is which parent has the right to make big decisions for the child. These decisions concern the child’s health care, education and religious upbringing.

In each case, the court may award joint physical custody or legal custody, or they may award sole custody to either parent. Even if a parent has sole or primary physical custody, they may not have sole legal custody. Generally, the courts honor an agreement about custody if the parents are able to reach one.

Who Can Be Awarded Visitation of a Child in a New York Family Court?

Visitation rights are generally reserved for members of a child’s immediate family.  This includes either one of that child’s parents, their siblings and half-siblings, and their grandparents.  The court will rule as to whether visitation with the party petitioning is in the child’s best interest. A child’s parent has a right to have frequent and meaningful visitation with them, unless it is demonstrated in family court that those visits would somehow be harmful to the child.

More About Custody Agreements

Generally speaking, judges honor joint custody schedules if the parents are able to work collaboratively. The court is at liberty to disagree if they feel it’s not in the child’s best interests, but this is a rarity. This means that you can work with your Staten Island joint custody lawyer for the purpose of approaching the other parent about crafting a joint custody agreement. Although this might seem extremely difficult, your Staten Island joint custody attorneys are trained professionals. We have the experience and skill to help you both prepare your case for court and approach the other parent for a non-trial resolution.

How An Attorney Can Help

When you’re facing a custody issue, our team of Staten Island custody attorneys can help. We can explore different strategies for your case. We’ve been there before, and we know what statements need to be in the court paperwork and what evidence you need to gather.

In some cases, you may need to modify a custody agreement that’s already in place. Working with an experienced Staten Island custody lawyer can help you evaluate your case to see if your motion is likely to succeed. We can also handle negotiations with the other parent to see if you can reach an agreement outside of a courtroom.

Our team knows that your children are your top priority. We also know how stressful family court can be. That’s why we make sure our services are both aggressive and compassionate. We’ll work with you to learn about your case and your goals, and then we’ll create a plan to help you achieve success.

How We Do It

Each day, our team of New York City joint custody attorneys does battle for the rights of deserving parents and their children. We are aware of how important it is for you to maintain your relationship with your child. Our team knows how to put together strong legal arguments and strategy in order to help you succeed in the Staten Island family court.

Our team goes the extra mile to prepare your Staten Island custody case. We may need to interview family and friends. Your child’s school or physician may have important documentation. We know how to put together the relevant evidence so that we’re ready to present the best case possible when your court day arrives.

Contact us

If you have a custody matter, please contact us. We’re passionate about advocating for parents and children in all levels of New York courts. Call us today, and we can talk about your case.



Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

~ David Bruce

Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

~ Rowlin Garcia

Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

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