Long Island Child Custody Lawyer
Resolving Custody Disputes in New York
During a divorce, child custody is one of the most challenging issues to resolve. This holds even when the parents of a child are not married but are breaking up nonetheless and need to reach a custody arrangement. Parents have strong opinions over how the custody of their children should be divided — or not divided in some cases — and often will not back down until they get what they want. If you are seeking child custody, you must retain the services of an experienced Long Island child custody attorney who can assert your rights and ensure your needs and concerns are not overlooked or ignored.
What are the Different Types of Custody?
Child custody in New York can take various forms, depending on the unique circumstances of each case. At Samuelson Hause PLLC, we provide legal expertise in the following types of custody:
- Legal Custody: This involves the authority to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religious affiliation. Legal custody can be joint, where both parents share decision-making responsibilities, or sole, where one parent has the final say.
- Physical Custody: This pertains to where the child primarily resides. Similar to legal custody, physical custody can be joint or sole. The court may also order a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent.
- Sole Custody: This grants one parent exclusive legal and physical custody rights. Sole custody is typically awarded when the court determines that joint custody is not in the child's best interests.
- Joint Custody: In joint custody arrangements, both parents share responsibilities for decision-making and time spent with the child. This arrangement is often favored if it aligns with the child's best interests.
How Is Child Custody Determined?
When parents can agree on a child custody arrangement, the courts will typically uphold their decision as long as it is in the child's best interest. When parents cannot mutually agree on an arrangement, the courts will intervene and devise an arrangement based on the child's best interest. There are certain factors judges take into consideration when determining child custody. Some of these factors include:
- Each parent's lifestyle
- If siblings would be separated
- The child's lifestyle and routine
- Each parent's physical and mental health
- Each parent's income and financial stability
- Each parent's ability to provide a stable environment
- The child's bond and / or relationship with each parent
- The child's preference (if above a certain age, usually 12 years)
- If the parents encourage the child to have a relationship with the other parent
- If either parent has a history of alcoholism, drug abuse, or domestic violence
- Each parent's ability to provide for the child, i.e. food, shelter, clothing, medical care
What Makes a Parent Unfit?
The determination of parental fitness is a critical aspect of child custody cases. The court may deem a parent unfit based on various factors, including:
- Substance Abuse: Drug or alcohol abuse can significantly impact a parent's fitness for custody.
- Domestic Violence: Any history of domestic violence, whether directed at the child or the other parent, raises serious concerns about a parent's fitness.
- Child Abuse or Neglect: Evidence of child abuse or neglect is a decisive factor in declaring a parent unfit for custody.
- Mental Health Issues: If a parent's mental health condition poses a risk to the child's well-being, the court may deem them unfit.
- Criminal Activity: Involvement in criminal activities can also be a factor in assessing parental fitness.
What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live with in NY?
In New York, a child's preference as to which parent they wish to live with is a factor that is considered important in any case. However, if the child is 13 or older, their choice is even more highly considered by the court.
Generally, the judge will evaluate the child's maturity level to ascertain whether their parents' preference could easily manipulate the child.
Contact Our Long Island Child Custody Attorney Today
Child custody matters demand strategic legal representation and a thorough understanding of New York's family law. At Samuelson Hause PLLC, our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to advocating for your child's best interests. We bring a wealth of experience to the table, guiding you through the complexities of child custody disputes on Long Island. Trust us to navigate the legal landscape with compassion, diligence, and a commitment to securing the most favorable outcome for you and your family.
Contact Samuelson Hause PLLC today to schedule a consultation with our child custody lawyer in Long Island!