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Making the decision to get a divorce when children are involved can make the process quite complicated. Unless you and your spouse have already come to a mutual agreement about who will have custody or how you will share time, you will need to hire an attorney to make sure your child's best interests are protected.
Why Hire Our Child Custody Attorneys in long island?
Whether you are involved in a complex divorce or paternity case, our child custody attorneys in Long Island can provide the honest representation you need. We can help you protect your child’s future and your custody and visitation rights.
- 150+ years’ combined family law experience on your side
- Strong client testimonials and peer reviews
- Lead attorney included in Super Lawyers® Rising Stars three years in a row
- Competitive rates & a free consultation
Though you may immediately feel that it is best for you to have full custody, we often recommend that you consider preserving your child's relationship with his or her other parent for the sake of your children's long-term interests. Remember child custody disputes are incredibly traumatic to children, and the quicker you can make a decision, the better.
Contact us online for a free, private consultation with one of our Long Island child custody attorneys. Call (631) 880-6440 to begin.
Who Can File for Custody in New York?
- Parents: A biological or adoptive parent may file for custody of their child.
- Legal guardians: A legal guardian, who has been appointed by a court, may file for custody of the child.
- Relatives: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings may file for custody if they can show that the child's parents are unfit or that extraordinary circumstances exist.
- Non-relatives: A non-relative, such as a stepparent or a close family friend, may file for custody if they can show that they have an ongoing and substantial relationship with the child and that awarding custody to them would be in the child's best interests.
The NY court will consider various factors, including the child's relationship with each parent, the child's living situation, and the ability of each parent or other party to provide for the child's needs.
No child custody order is set absolutely after it is created, and all can be subject to modification. Courts will typically only approve of modification if one or both spouses experience a significant life change, or one spouse continues to violate the agreements outlined in the order. If you want to spend time with your children and maintain your rights, you must be conscious of your agreements and New York’s custody laws at all times.
Whenever you encounter a situation where you are not sure about your rights and limitations as a divorced parent – such as planning an out-of-state vacation with your children – you should always seek clarification from the court or your attorney. You can also speak directly to your ex-spouse if you want to make temporary modifications to the agreement. It is still advised you work with a child custody lawyer in Long Island or get any impromptu agreements notarized, just in case your ex-spouse forgets or attempts to get you in trouble.
Understanding Third-Party Custody Rights
New York does not limit child custody rights to just the biological or legal parents of a child. In some situations, close relatives or even family friends might have the right to seek custody of a child after the parents’ divorce.
People who may attempt to win third-party custody rights include:
- Aunts, uncles, and adult siblings
- Stepparents or domestic partners of a child’s parent
- Caretakers with extensive experience living with the child
As with any other legal process, the court will only assign third-party custody if it is to be in the best interest of the child. If both legal parents do not seem to be a “good fit” for the child, or if both have passed away, a judge might be inclined to consider third-party custody.
How to Prove a Parent Unfit
A judge would closely evaluate each parent's ability to care for the children and fulfill their needs during any custody battle. If you feel the other parent is a threat to the children or is unqualified to have custody, you must be able to justify this to the judge if you expect the court to strip away the parent's custody rights.
Analyze the parent's behavior: It is not in the best interests of the child to be in the care of a parent who regularly places the child in risky circumstances or is reckless in any way. Consider and record any violent acts, emotional violence, or apparent drug dependence.
Identify the child's surroundings: While the parent's actions may not be a concern, the circumstances in which the child is put may be. It's an apparent concern if, for example, the infant is not adequately monitored, is not supplied with basic needs, or is exposed to unsafe environments or safety hazards. Consider if the parent has any potentially dangerous associates, such as gang members or convicts.
Record evidence: Once you've witnessed the parent's actions and the child's atmosphere and concluded the child is in danger, you'll need to gather evidence to back up the arguments. This may include media archives that track injury or neglect, the child's medical history, the parent's criminal history, email, voicemail, or text messages with the parent. Prepare to present this testimony to the judge.
Many factors can determine child custody arrangements, including the child's preference, each parent's parenting history, and skills, and the child's relationship with siblings or other family members.
Our team of Long Island custody lawyers will listen to your situation and work closely with you to create a child custody plan that both parents can agree on.
We can provide information on the following child custody topics:
- How the court determines visitation and parenting terms if you can't come to an agreement
- How your child's personal preference can play a role in a child custody dispute
- How you and your spouse's financial standings will come into play in a child custody dispute
- What will happen if you or your spouse decide to move or get remarried
Can Child Custody Be Modified?
In the event, your spouse is not sticking to the terms of your child custody order or if your circumstances have changed and you need to modify any part of the agreement, our Long Island custody lawyers can help. We have extensive experience representing parents in custody modifications and enforcement proceedings.
The courts understand that life is unpredictable and will allow modifications under specific circumstances, such as when a substantial change in finances, health, or living situation occurs. Our goal is to help guide you and answer any questions that you may have about your case.
How Does New York Determine Child Custody?
The overarching rule for determining child custody in the State of New York is called "Best Interest of the Child". There is no definition or calculation for this rule because every custody situation is unique and must be evaluated with care, however, the New York legal code does say the "child's health and safety shall be the paramount concerns". Some factors that a family court judge will consider are:
- Suitability of the parent to raise the child.
- Relationship of the child with their parent
- If there are any cases of domestic violence
- The child's home life and relationship with any siblings
These are only a few factors that a judge may consider when determining custody and visitation. Speak with an experienced Long Island child custody attorney at Hedayati Law Group P.C. to learn more!
What Types of Custody Are Available in New York?
New York has two types of child custody: legal and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to a parent's ability to make decisions for how their child will be raised and is awarded to both parents in almost every case. Parents with legal custody of a child must work together to decide where their child will go to school, what medical care they will receive, what activities they will participate in, etc. Basically, if something affects your child, a parent with legal custody has the right to be a part of the decision.
Physical custody refers to which parent a child will live with. Most parents will receive joint physical custody so that the child spends equal time with both their mother and father. However, there are cases where one parent may have more or less physical custody than another, or no custody rights at all, if the court determines that would be in the best interests of the child.
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