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.
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.
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.