Long Island Child Custody Attorneys
Of all family and matrimonial law matters, child custody tends to be the most sensitive. Child custody is a family law term that is used to describe the legal guardianship of a child under the age of 18. The physical and legal custody of a child is usually addressed by the court during
divorce proceedings but can also be addressed, without a divorce action, in Family Court. It is the court’s primary objective to consider the best interests of the child, not the reasoning of the parents.
It is never easy for mothers and fathers to decide upon who gets custody of their children. In most cases, both the mother and the father will have very strong feelings regarding the custody arrangement, which can lead to devastating conflicts and emotional stress. Often times, parents will base their decisions upon their wishes instead of taking into consideration the best interests of the child. In these instances, the court must make a decision that will benefit and protect the security of the child.
The court will consider several factors before awarding custody. These factors may include: the child’s age, the child’s health, the child’s preference (if above a certain age), each parent’s health, each parent’s lifestyle, the emotional bond between the child and each parent, the parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, and the child’s current way of life.
Types of Custody
In New York, there are two aspects of child custody: physical custody, and legal custody. Physical custody can be arranged in a number of ways, including but not limited to the following:
- Sole or "primary" physical custody is when the child lives with one parent on a day-to-day basis. A parent may have visitation rights if sole physical custody is granted to the other parent.
- Shared physical custody is when the child lives with each parent half of the time.
Legal custody is arranged in one of the following ways:
- Sole legal custody is when one parent has the legal right to make all decisions pertaining to things such as the child’s health, education, and religious beliefs. (However, some of these issues, such as the children's religion can be agreed in advance by the parties in their separation agreement or divorce settlement.)
- Joint legal custody is when both parents have the legal right to make decisions pertaining to things such as the child’s health, education, and religious beliefs. Alternatively, an agreement or order may assign some categories of decision making to one parent and other categories to the other: for example, one parent might decide educational issues and the other might decide major medical issues.
Contact a Long Island child custody lawyer at our law firm for a free review of your case.
For more information on child custody, visit our child custody website!