Long Island Child Custody Attorneys
Protecting Nassau and Suffolk County clients and their familial relationships
If you are going through a divorce or separation with children involved, you must consider the topic of child custody and visitation. Child custody and visitation rights are often a contested and emotional topic for parents. The goal is to agree on a positive custody and parenting arrangement that works for the child’s best interests. New York believes that the child’s best interests are achieved when both parents have regular and ongoing access to the child, unless one or both parents would negatively affect their healthy development, as in domestic violence or drug-related cases. If you are going through a divorce where child custody is a factor, speak to a Long Island attorney at The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your legal matter.
Joint and sole custody explained
Joint and sole custody determines the child custody arrangement. Simply speaking:
- Joint custody- shared by the parties
- Sole custody- awarded to one parent
Depending on the child’s situation, sole custody may or may not give access to the other parent. Sole custody is rare. It may be awarded to one parent when the other would pose a danger to a positive and healthy upbringing. Joint custody is usually considered the preferred arrangement as it lessens the feeling of loss often felt in a divorce and allows for both parents to be an integral part of their child’s life. In order for joint custody to work well, parents need to have a level of mutual respect and positive communication.
Legal and physical custody explained
Contingent on the living situation of the child, legal and physical custody must be determined by the court in contested cases. The parent with legal custody has the right to make major decisions about the child. This can include education, religion, and medical treatment. The parent with physical custody lives with the child most of the time. These parents are sometimes called “custodial parents” or “primary caretakers”. We highly recommend that our clients fight for legal custody in order to preserve the parental relationship.
When courts decide custody explained
In the context of custody, the court will consider many factors when deciding how to proceed with judgment. Some of those considerations may be:
- The age of the child
- Who has been the primary caregiver
- The quality of each parent’s homes
- How proper it would be for the child to remain with the primary caregiver
- Older children’s preferences and desires
The history of support by both parents is a major factor in deciding custody. The physical, emotional, and financial care of the child and the emotional and physical health of the parents are major considerations for the courts.
For the most contested cases, an attorney will be appointed for the child in order to insure the child’s best interests. If the parents can’t agree on a child custody arrangement, the state-appointed attorney will step in as the legal voice of the child. The attorney will interview the child and speak on his or her behalf.
Parents and children benefit from mediation
New York courts prefer that parents come to an agreement to determine custody and visitation. A mediator is a third party individual that will assist parents with reaching an amicable arrangement for custody and parenting time disputes. Mediation is free, confidential, and voluntary. Mediation usually ends on a positive note because parents are actively participating in the decision-making process. Sometimes a judge will suggest mediation. Most of the time, one or both parents will ask the judge for a referral. If both parents agree, and the judge determines mediation is a good course of action, the process will begin. Attorneys may be present to counsel clients, negotiate terms, and review any documents before signing. The judge will review the parenting plan. If the judge agrees to the plan, it becomes a court order. If mediation is not working for either parent, the case will resume in court and the judge will have the final say.
Long Island child custody attorneys who cares
If you are dealing with a child custody case, our attorneys are here to help. At The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., our compassionate Long Island attorneys are diligent professionals with the dedication to ease you through this emotional process. Child custody is not easy on anyone. Our firm is committed to guiding clients to the best conclusion. Our attorneys have the experience to handle heated cases. We all want what is best for the child and our clients know our attorneys are available in their time of need. Call The Pollack Law Firm, P.C. today for a consultation.