If your separation or divorce involves minor children, the issue of child custody is likely to be your focal point of your divorce proceedings. Divorce is never easy, no matter how contentious or amicable you may think it is, it is especially difficult for the children of the divorcing couple.
Law Offices of Mindin & Mindin, P.C., we help our clients with child custody issues that carry all types of complications. Schedule a free case evaluation with our New York City divorce lawyera if you require aggressive and knowledgeable legal assistance with your child custody issue.
HOW DO THE COURTS MAKE THEIR DECISION WHEN IT COMES TO CHILD CUSTODY?
It is a common misconception that custody defaults to the mother, that is not always the case, the results of a child custody dispute are never a certain conclusion and they can become very complicated and contentious. Many considerations are made by the court when deciding a child custody arrangement.
Children under the age of 18 will be under the court's jurisdiction when deciding custody. Parents, however, may continue to involve an older child in disputes regarding spousal support for assistance with educational costs, medical expenses, and medical insurance.
FACTORS THAT ARE INCLUDED IN THE COURT'S DECISION
When determining what is best for the child or children, the court will consider many factors, including:
- The age of the child (or children)
- Whether one parent has been the primary caregiver of the child
- Whether the child has any special needs
- The parenting skills of each parent
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Whether there is any history of domestic violence
- The work schedules and job demands of each parent
- The proposed child-care plans of each parent
- The child's own preference, depending on his or her age
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CUSTODY?
Custody relates not only to where the child resides (residential or physical custody), but who is given the right and responsibility to make decisions for the child (legal custody).
- Legal custody involves making medical decisions and the ability to make decisions about the child's education. Often, both parents will want to share in these responsibilities, in which case they will have a joint custody agreement (if the court agrees it is in the best interests of the child). In most cases, courts prefer that both parents continue to develop a positive relationship with the child or children.
- The court may award sole custody to one parent in cases in which one parent may not want custody or may believe that the other parent is not fit to have either physical or legal custody. Sole custody does not relieve the non-custodial parent of his or her child support responsibilities. The non-custodial parent may also be able to obtain visitation rights, which the custodial parent must honor. Special conditions may be attached to visitation, such as requiring a third party supervisor for a parent who has a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or mental instability.
In some cases, neither parent may be fit to care for the children. In this situation, other interested parties, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even more distant relatives, may apply for custody. These parties may also seek custody when the parents have abandoned, neglected or abused the children, and if the third party or parties can demonstrate that granting custody to them would serve the best interests of the child or children.
Our legal team can evaluate your situation and help you negotiate a reasonable solution, prepare and review the necessary paperwork, and ensure that the custody and visitation orders are fair to both you and your child.
Whether you are preparing for a custody battle, find yourself in the middle of one, or need to modify an existing custody arrangement, our firm is ready, willing, and able to assist you.
Contact us at 888-501-3292 or e-mail us with any questions you may have.