Long Island Divorce & Family Law Firm Established in 1976
Child Custody

Long Island Child Custody Attorneys

Child custody issues tend to be the most sensitive and complex of all family law matters. The custody of a child — both physical and legal, as explained below — 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 personal desires of each of the parents.

    Contact a Long Island child custody lawyer at our law firm for a free review of your case.

    Types of Custody in New York

    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 – This 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 – This 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 – This 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 – This 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 make medical decisions.

    Child Custody & Healthcare Issues

    In New York, noncustodial parents are usually ordered by a family law judge to provide health insurance for dependent children. All employers in this state receive a National Medical Support Notice whenever one of their employees is required by the court to provide healthcare for their children.

    From that point on, the employer will begin to withhold health insurance premiums from the noncustodial parents' earnings. At Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, we are prepared to help custodial and noncustodial parents ln Long Island when faced with issues like:

    • Employer doesn't provide dependent/family coverage
    • Noncustodial parent does not qualify for health coverage
    • Noncustodial parent is unemployed and does not have health coverage

    NY Child Custody FAQ

    How Is Child Custody Decided in New York?

    It is never easy for mothers and fathers to decide 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.

    Oftentimes, parents will base their decisions on their own wishes instead of the best interests of the child. If a private agreement cannot be reached between divorcing or separating parents, child custody will be determined by a Family or Supreme Court.

    The court will make their decision based on what is in the best interests of the child and will take into account the child’s relationship with each parent, the income, the living situation of each parent, and what will be least disruptive to the child’s life. Depending on the age of the child, a judge may also consider their preference. Judges may also call on the opinions of social workers, psychologist, or psychiatrists to help make the final decision.

    In custody cases on Long Island, the court will consider various factors when making a decision, such as:

    • The child’s health
    • The child’s age
    • The child’s preference (If above a certain age)
    • The health of both parents
    • The lifestyle of both parents
    • The parents’ ability to provide for their child’s needs
    • The child’s current standard of living

    What Is The Difference Between Sole And Joint Custody?

    With sole custody, only one parent will have the authority to make decisions about their child’s upbringing, including education, health, and welfare. Joint custody is when both parents have equal decision-making power. Parents may not exclude each other when making important decisions. Violating this agreement will result in consequences. If one parent takes the other to court and they are found in contempt, they could be responsible for paying the other parent’s attorney fees or may risk losing sole custody.

    Can Child Custody Orders Be Modified?

    Yes, modifications can be made with proof of a substantial change to the parent or child’s situation and are justifiable when the child’s best interests are at risk. Custody arrangements can also be revised if, for example, one parent refuses to allow the other to visit the child or if they attempt to alienate the child from the other parent. Unless both parents can reach an agreement on their own, the matter will have to be resolved in court.

    Can Custody Affect My Ability To Move Away?

    The custodial parent is not free to relocate to an area where the other parent cannot exercise their visitation rights. In the event that the custodial parent wishes to relocate to another state, they will need to obtain the permission of the other parent or the court. If approved, the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent will be revised to allow greater visitation time over summer or vacation time.


    Contact Our Child Custody Lawyers on Long Island

    The attorneys at Wisselman, Harounian & Associates have over 150 years of collective legal experience and are regarded as leaders in the fields of divorce and family law. We understand what a difficult and emotional time this may be for you. By retaining our services, we can help you navigate New York’s complicated legal system and pursue your child custody goals.

    Need a custody attorney on Long Island? Contact our firm in Great Neck – (516) 406-8500

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