Jamestown Child Custody Lawyer
Are you going through a child custody matter and want help understanding New York child custody laws? Contact experienced Jamestown child custody lawyer Scott F. Humble for a free confidential consultation. Let his experience work for you.
Of all the decisions that couples have to make during divorce proceedings, child custody arrangements can be the most challenging to settle. Where children will live is a crucial and personal decision, one with no “right” answer. After all, an ideal arrangement for one divorced couple may not be workable for another. Unlike finances and marital property, which a judge or a mediator can fairly and easily distribute, it is impossible for a child to live full-time with both parents at once. The wishes and needs of the children themselves are also important factors, and parents have to take these additional views into account. All these issues together can make determining a child custody arrangement among the most complicated hurdles to overcome.
Parents must remember at every step of the divorce process to remain honest but civil, as disagreements and irrational demands will lead to a child custody battle. In addition to the extra financial burden that such a battle entails, the conflict can prove stressful to the parents and their children alike. If you believe that your spouse is likely to make unreasonable requests about child custody during your divorce proceedings, early action will make all the difference. You should contact an experienced Jamestown child custody lawyer as soon as possible in order to learn what to anticipate as you seek a fair and balanced child custody arrangement.
Does Child Custody in New York State Only Refer to Physical Custody?
There are two types of child custody in New York: legal custody and physical custody. The latter form describes where a child will live, while legal custody instead refers to decisions that parents must make on their child’s behalf. A judge may award legal custody to both parents even if physical custody is granted to just one parent; in this example, a child would live with only one parent, but both parents would be responsible for collaborating on decisions about matters such as their child’s education, health expenses, and religious upbringing.
How Much Will My Wishes As a Parent Factor into a Child Custody Arrangement?
The desires of each parent are significant, but by far the most essential element of any child custody arrangement is the “best interest of the child.” New York state law prioritizes a number of discrete factors when making decisions in child custody battles, but the unifying theme among these factors is the need for the child to live in a safe, supportive, and stable environment. If one parent cannot consistently meet these basic criteria, it will be harder for the parent to persuade the court to award custody.
The child’s wishes often factor into custody arrangements, but this can be a double-edged sword. Though it is important to respect children’s wishes, children may prefer to live with the parent who has fewer rules, who disciplines them less, and who allow excessive independence. Because a judge cannot order a parent to raise a child in a specific manner, adhering largely to the children’s preferences under these circumstances would not be acting in the children’s best interests. It is for this reason that judges and mediators consider not only the children’s preferences but also the rationale behind those preferences. If a judge feels that a child’s wishes are not in line with her or his best interests, the judge can consider an alternative custody arrangement.
How Does New York State Law Respond to Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases?
Accusations of domestic violence and proven records of abuse are serious matters, and the state of New York treats them accordingly. For domestic abuse to factor into child custody arrangements, it must be shown to the court under oath that the violence did in fact occur or that the violence is more likely than not to have occurred. A parent who has engaged in domestic violence against her or his spouse or a child may still be awarded custody, but only if the judge sees that the abuse was extremely limited and that the child would still benefit from living with that parent. If the abuse has occurred on multiple occasions, the responsible parent may receive supervised visitation at best.
What Other Factors Will a Court Consider When Determining Custody?
Judges and divorce attorneys will work to keep children together with their siblings, if at all possible. Assuming that a parent can demonstrate the financial ability to care for multiple children, it is likely that a child will be placed in the household where her or his siblings or half-siblings already live. Educational opportunities are also important, and a judge will probably order children to stay more frequently with the parent who lives closer to schools. The ability to be physically present to care for one’s children is especially paramount, and a parent will have a harder time attaining custody if he or she must spend long amounts of time away from home. Hiring a nanny or a similar caregiver can close this gap to an extent, but a parent will still have to convince a court that the relative lack of time spent caring for children is not a barrier to custody.
A stable home life is the intended outcome of every child custody battle, and every parent has to show that he or she is able to provide this stability. The court will therefore consider a parent’s health, both mental and physical, when making a decision about where a child or children will live. A parent who has to contend with a notable physical impairment or injury may be deemed unable to provide the necessary amount of care, and improperly managed mental illness can suggest to the court that a parent is unfit to take on the majority of custody. A record of problems with alcohol or drugs can prevent a parent from receiving custody, so those who have struggled with addiction in the past will have to prove that they have recovered from their dependencies.
Experienced Jamestown Child Custody Lawyer Fighting For You
Legal and physical child custody are both highly complicated matters under New York law, and because no two families are alike, no two child custody arrangements will be the same. If you find that your spouse is showing reluctance or stubbornness during your divorce case, you should contact an experienced Jamestown child custody lawyer for additional assistance. Dedicated Jamestown child custody lawyer Scott F. Humble has over 30 years of experience helping clients defend their rights during child custody battles, and we would be glad to advocate on your behalf.