One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is telling your children that you and your spouse are splitting up. You don’t want to add an unnecessary burden, but at the same time, you need to be honest with them about what is happening. You also want to do the best you can to ensure that their lives are not turned upside down by the divorce.
The best way to protect your children during a divorce is to have a solid child custody arrangement. A Pittsford child custody lawyer can help you create a custody arrangement that will allow your children to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents while also protecting their best interests.
At Trotto Law Firm, our experienced child custody attorneys have helped many parents in Pittsford and the surrounding areas create child support and custody arrangements that preserve the health and wellbeing of their children. We understand the unique challenges of child custody cases, and we will work diligently to shield your children from unnecessary stress or conflict.
In New York, two types of child custody arrangements exist, physical custody and legal custody.
In New York, custody is awarded to the parent who can provide the child with the best possible physical and emotional environment. To make this determination, the court considers a variety of factors, including:
If both parents satisfy the above criteria, the court will happily award joint custody. However, if one parent does not meet the above criteria, the court may award sole custody to the other parent. In some cases, both parents stray from meeting the criteria, in which case, the court will make an alternative custody decision that does not award custody to either parent.
If one parent earns sole physical custody, the other parent will earn visitation rights. The actual amount of time the noncustodial parent spends with the child will be determined by the court, considering the child’s age, schedule, and needs. The visitation schedule will also be based on the work schedules of the custodial and noncustodial parents.
In most cases, the visitation schedule will allow the noncustodial parent to have the child overnight on weekends and for a certain number of weeks during the summer. The custodial parent will also typically be required to allow the noncustodial parent to have the child on certain holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. If the noncustodial parent lives out of state, the visitation schedule may be adjusted accordingly.
The custodial parent will be responsible for transporting the child to and from the visitation. In some cases, the noncustodial parent may be responsible for transportation if they live close by. If the custodial parent is not comfortable with this arrangement, they can request that the court order supervised visitation where a third party will be present during the visits.
If the parents cannot agree on custody, they must go to court, and a judge will make the final decision. Sometimes, the judge may order both parents to attend mediation, a process where they meet with a neutral third-party professional to converse and try to reach a child custody agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will go to trial, and the judge will decide based on the evidence presented.
Even if the parents agree on custody, they will still need to get the court’s approval. The court will ensure that the agreement is in the child’s best interest and that both parents understand their rights and responsibilities.
If one parent moves to an entirely different state, the custody arrangement must be modified. The court will usually order the custodial parent to provide the noncustodial parent with a schedule of the child’s activities and whereabouts. The custodial parent must give the noncustodial parent reasonable notice if there are any changes to the child’s schedule.
The noncustodial parent will still have the right to visitation, but the visits may need to be supervised or occur in a neutral location, like a public library or community center. The noncustodial parent may also be mandated to pay for the child’s travel expenses.
The subject of custody can be a difficult one to broach with your children. Here are a few tips to make the conversation a little easier:
At the end of the day, your children are going through a tough time too. They need your patience, love, and support during this difficult time.
The cost of a family lawyer in NY will vary depending on the complexity of the case, the amount of time required to reach final decisions, and the level of attorney intervention. Each attorney sets their own fees, so it’s important to ask for an estimate up front to gauge whether the lawyer’s services are aligned with your budget.
While you technically do not need a lawyer to represent you in Family Court, having an attorney can be immensely helpful in protecting your rights and ensuring the best possible outcome for your case. If you are involved in a complex custody battle or if you have significant assets at stake, it is generally in your best interest to have legal representation and not risk going up against the other party’s lawyer alone.
During your initial consultation with a potential family lawyer, you should discuss the specifics of your case and ask questions about the lawyer’s experience, approach to similar cases, and fees. You should also inquire about the lawyer’s availability to take your case and whether or not they have any conflicts of interest. Finally, you should ask about the lawyer’s expected outcome for your case and what steps they recommend taking next.
When determining custody, the court will consider a variety of factors, including the child’s age, health, and welfare; relationship with each parent; schooling and extracurricular activities; and preference, depending on their age; as well as each parent’s work schedule, mental and physical health, and past instances of abuse or neglect. The court will never allow a child to be placed in a potentially harmful situation, so the safety of the child is always the top priority.
If you are going through a divorce or custody battle in NY, it’s important to have an experienced family lawyer on your side. The team at Trotto Law Firm have helped countless families in NY navigate the family court system and reach favorable outcomes. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We’ll review your case and answer any questions you have. Let us help create the best future for you and your family.
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