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If you face a divorce, paternity, or post-divorce matter that involves custody issues, including those centering on joint custody, you need to have a basic familiarity with New York law. A Staten Island joint custody lawyer can provide you not only the information you desire, but the representation you need to best protect your legal rights and interests.
Joint Custody Defined
Joint custody represents a custodial arrangement in which both parents share in the upbringing of a minor child. Joint custody in New York is generally contrasted with sole custody. Under a sole custody arrangement, only one parent plays a primary role in the upbringing of a minor child.
There is No Presumption of Joint Custody
Staten Island Family Court doesn’t begin a case from any assumption that joint custody is what’s best for a child. On the contrary, it is in your best interest to work with a Staten Island joint custody attorney to file a request for joint custody of your children. You will need to explain why you believe it’s in the best interests of the child to be under the shared custody of both parents.
Some situations where joint custody might be appropriate were documented in the New York case of Trolf v. Trolf. The court can grant joint custody to parents who can get along reasonably well. They say that the best situations are ones where the parents can be friendly with one another and work together for the good of the children.
Points of difference in a marriage shouldn’t prevent a qualified mother or father from having joint custody of their children. It doesn’t matter if the parents are not friends with each other. What makes the difference is whether they can reasonably cooperate for the sake of the children.
Joint Legal Custody
According to New York law, legal custody is the ability of a parent to make primary life decisions for a minor child. These decisions include such matters as religion, education, and medical matters. Joint legal custody exists when both parents share in making primary life decisions for a minor child.
Joint Physical Custody
Pursuant to New York law, physical custody is the right of a parent to provided a residence for a minor child. Joint legal custody is a situation in which both parents provide a residence for a minor child a substantial amount of time.
Division of Custody
New York law permits custodial arrangements to be divided in a number of different ways. For example, one parent might have sole physical custody of a child and yet share legal custody with another parent. In another scenario, both parents may jointly have legal and physical custody of a child. A situation could even exit when one parent has both legal and physical custody of a child and the other parent has neither.
Establishing a Joint Custody Agreement
Parties to a divorce, or paternity, case have the ability to negotiate a custody agreement. In fact, courts usually encourage parents to attempt to negotiate an agreement between themselves when it comes to issues like custody of a minor child.
Even when parties negotiate a custody arrangement, that agreement must still be approved by the court. The court must make sure that the custody agreement meets the legal standard for such legal and physical custody in the state of New York.
The Legal Standard for Custody
New York law outlines the standard to be utilized in establishing the custody of a minor child. It covers both legal and physical custody. It applies to a situation in which joint custody is being considered.
In New York, a custody arrangement must be determined to be in the best interests of the child. In determining whether the arrangement is in the best interests of a child, a court will look at a variety of different factors.
Considerations include the health of the parties, the residential situation of the parties, and a look at which parent historically has been the primary caretaker of the child. Other factors can also come into play depending on the unique situations of a case.
Who Can Be Awarded Visitation in New York?
Either of the child’s parents, siblings (including half-siblings), and grandparents are permitted to petition for visitation. The judge in family court will rule on whether visitation with the petitioner is in the child’s best interest. In general, a child’s parent is entitled to frequent and meaningful visitation with them. If, however, it is proven in court that the visiting parent would be harmful to the child, then a judge will limit that visitation.
What If the Other Parent Violates our Custody and Visitation Order?
If there is already custody order in place, and the noncustodial parent decides not to return your child to you after a visit, you should call the police for assistance in getting your child back. In more serious scenarios, the other parent can be arrested.
Also, in such scenarios, you have the right to file a violation petition in Family Court to enforce provisions surrounding custody or to enforce provisions about your visits.
Parents and custodians can retain attorneys to represent them in violation petition cases.
In the event that the noncustodial parent refuses to visit their child, the court does not have the power to force him or her to visit. Nonetheless, that parent’s visitation award could be decreased and will not be increased until he or she resumes visits with their child consistently.
How Does the Court Determine Joint Custody?
When the court makes a determination about custody, they make a decision as to whether if the parents are going to be able to be amicable enough to make joint custody work. They also consider if the parents reside in close enough proximity to each other in order to split the time effectively even when the child goes to school or participates in other local activities. The court needs to consider if there are any major reasons that one parent should have the majority of the parenting time, such as domestic violence or a history of substance abuse
Retain a Staten Island Joint Custody Lawyer
Your first step in obtaining legal representation is arranging an initial consultation with an experienced Staten Island joint custody lawyer. During this preliminary meeting with a lawyer, you obtain an evaluation of your situation and answers to any questions that you might have about joint custody and other issues. There typically is no fee charged for an initial consultation with a Staten Island joint custody lawyer.
People choose to get a divorce for varied reasons. Sometimes people simply move on and realize they have little in common. In other instances, the relationship between the two parties may have turned out poorly. Unfortunately, there are instances where one party may actually abusive to the other party. Abuse can take many forms. One party may abuse the other party in the marriage verbally. They may say cruel things and undermine the other person’s confidence. Another form of abuse is physical abuse. Physical abuse can also take many forms. A man may occasionally hurt his wife when angry. In other instances, the physical abuse may be ongoing and happen on a weekly basis. A man may actually physically hurt his wife with objects or with his fists. Such abuse is a very serious matter. Many battered wives are often reluctant to talk about the abuse they suffer to outside sources.
Speaking out about any kind of spousal abuse can be extremely hard. Those who cope with such abuse often feel isolated and alone. A spouse who engages in such behavior may limit their wife’s contact with others in order to control her actions and make it hard for her to let the world know what is going on in the household. However, a woman may find the courage to break free of a relationship that is bad for her. In that case, a divorce is often the best course of action for her. It allows her to get away from the abuser and make a new life. Many women have children. For abused women, the process of divorce is not only on opportunity to break free of her abuser. It’s also an opportunity to further protect her children. Many men who are hurtful to their wives may also engage in abuse against their own children in some way. This can take varied forms. A man may spend lots of time yelling at kids. They may also go out of their way to actively hurt the child with a body part such as a fist or with some physical object.
If the event of any kind of problem of this sort, letting legal counsel know can be hard. The abuse may have been hidden for years. However, a woman’s need to protect her children is a paramount feeling. A lawyer will listen to her testimony and help her decide what to do next. In many cases, the best kind of custody arrangement for her will be sole custody. Sole custody is when one parent assumes all of the responsibility for the children. That parent is the one who has the legal right to make all important decisions on their behalf. The other parent has limited if any rights to come in contact with the children. Any parent who has been abused by the other partner should be aware that gaining this kind of custody can be hard. They may need to be prepared to prove the other partner is unfit. In that case, they may be asked for all sorts of documentation illustrating evidence of abuse. This kind of documentation can take many forms. A spouse can show they have been physically harmed with pictures that demonstrate they have a black eye. Other forms of documentation include any medical records such as an emergency room visit. A child can also testify to the judge about any kind abuse they may have witnessed. For example, they can tell the judge that one parent hit the other parent or they can tell them about the abuse they have suffered by the other parent.
Preparing To Fight
Getting sole custody can be difficult. An alternative to such custody is primary custody. Primary custody means that one parent assumes nearly all the responsibilities for the children of the marriage. The other parent has limited rights. They may have the right to see the children for a few hours a week. This form of custody can be easier if there’s not enough documentation indicating that abuse has been present. Anyone should keep in mind that custody arrangements are not permanent. They can be changed as circumstances change. If the person can prove abuse, it is possible to change such arrangements. For many abused women, the primary goal should be to get out of the relationship as soon as they can. A lawyer can help make sure they and their children are fully protected from abuse.
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.
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.
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.
Our divorce lawyers provide superior service, and results, with a white glove touch that few others can deliver.
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