Whenever children are involved in a divorce, custody must be determined. Custody is defined as the responsibility for the care and control of your child.
Oftentimes, people beginning the divorce process think that custody refers only to where the child lives. In fact, there are two parts to custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions about your child, such as where your child goes to school. Physical (or residential) custody is the day-to-day care and supervision of your child.
Arrangements for child custody will be worked out in advance in the case of uncontested divorce. Child custody is generally more complicated in the case of contested divorce and may require the involvement of an Attorney for the Children. Regardless, the goal of the court in the determination of custody is to satisfy the best interests of the child. Many factors are considered, including the child’s age, the relationships with both parents, and both home environments.
The courts may award one parent sole legal custody or give both parents joint legal custody. If you and your spouse share joint legal custody, you will also share the responsibility for making major decisions in your child’s life. You will need to be in regular communication with your child’s co-parent and be willing to compromise as needed.
Sole physical custody may be awarded to one parent, who may also be referred to as the child’s “primary caretaker” or “custodial parent.” Shared physical custody (also known as residential custody) means that your child will live with both parents, with time split equally or as otherwise determined by the court.
If a parent is not awarded legal or physical custody, that parent may still be entitled to visitation time. Visitation time may be worked out by the parents or the court.
Child custody is a complicated and vitally important factor in the divorce process. Ideally, with the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you and your spouse will be able to craft a custody arrangement that serves the best interest of your child. Should you need to enter a child custody battle, hiring a family law attorney with extensive practice is critical. The attorneys at Bates Family Law are seasoned in all aspects of child custody. We will work tirelessly for you to come to a satisfactory agreement that serves the best interests of you and your child.
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When it comes to your divorce or family law case, experience matters. We have represented thousands of clients in matters of divorce, child custody, and child support.
Many people do not realize that New York is a no-fault divorce state. It is no longer necessary or even common to get a legal separation before getting divorced in New York. An uncontested divorce is the fastest and most budget-friendly path to marital dissolution. Often, an uncontested divorce can be settled with only one party retaining a lawyer.
When an uncontested divorce is not possible, you will want a family court lawyer with extensive trial experience. When you are considering hiring a family court lawyer, it is important to ask about the number of divorce trials they have handled.
Divorce for Business Owners or Their Spouses
If you or your spouse own a business, it’s crucial to hire a divorce attorney who has comprehensive experience handling business assets. Not all divorce attorneys understand business valuations or the tax consequences of businesses. The special considerations of business owners require special knowledge from your lawyer.
Nothing is more important than your children. If you are facing parental alienation or your children are being coached, a child custody battle can be especially difficult. We have expertly conducted countless child custody trials, including initial determinations of the best interests of the children, modifications to prior orders, enforcement proceedings, and cases of parental alienation.
Child support is much more complicated than a basic formula or a certain percentage of income. There are multiple considerations that go into calculating child support, especially if you or the other parent works in a cash business, is underemployed, or if you share equal time with the child. We are experienced in every aspect of determining child support. If child support is already established, we can even determine, often in a phone call, whether the amount you are currently paying or receiving is fair.
Orders of Protection
If you have been served with a Family Court Order of Protection or if you feel that you need an Order of Protection to keep you or your children safe, you must act fast. An Order of Protection against you can impact your job, your ability to see your children, your right to live in your home, and your right to possess firearms. If a temporary Order of Protection was issued against you without you being present, you have a right to have the Order of Protection reevaluated right away. If you are seeking an Order of Protection, we will help you apply for the order, most often within 24 hours.
Have you tried to work through the issues with your spouse and keep "getting stuck" in the same pattern? Our mediators help couples shift into a new and productive way of communicating and problem solving, even while they are working towards their divorce. This family-centered process, in which the parties themselves are in control and empowered to make their own decisions, seeks to reduce the tension and trauma of divorce, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness by working together through the current issues and develop the necessary tools for resolving future differences.