Child Custody Lawyer NYC
Your child or children are the most important people in your life, which is why if you are getting divorced or are involved in a child custody dispute, it’s important to have an experienced child custody lawyer in NYC who can help to protect your rights as a parent. While the parties may wish to dissolve their relationship with one another, the relationship with your children continues.
In New York City, issues pertaining to custody of children are often the most emotionally demanding and painful and require the attention of an attorney who is familiar with family and child custody law. Hiring an experienced child custody attorney in New York City will help you ensure that your rights are best represented in court.
Child Custody Situations
Here are a few of the common child custody situations family law attorney Paul E. Rudder, Esq. can assist you with:
- Enforcing the visitation agreement if the custodial parent is in violation.
- Handling issues related to requests for relocation
- Modifying the parenting plan or oppose such request
- Modifying a visitation schedule
- Assisting grandparents seeking visitation rights
- Protecting the rights of the non-biological parent in same-sex couples
Paul E Rudder, Esq. is an experienced child custody lawyer in New York City who will protect your legal right as a parent. Mr. Rudder has over 30 years of experience handling custody disputes. He can help diffuse conflicts while assisting in achieving a mutual understanding and agreement between the parties, keeping in mind the ultimate goal – the best interests of the child. Call (212) 826-9900 to set an appointment.
Parenting is one of the top issues divorcing couples face. They may worry about schools, what extracurricular activities the children will be involved in, their living situation, medical issues, as well as many other issues. A child custody attorney will work closely with both parties to create a partnership when possible, but above all else to be sure that the interest of the child or children is well served.
How Child Custody in New York Is Determined
Most judges in New York State try to be fair in decisions of child custody cases. In most cases the critical issues that are debated between the parties are custody, child support and visitation.
There are many determining factors in deciding who will get the custody of your child. The goal is to impose as little change and disruption for a child as possible.
Some of the key factors that the court considers when deciding which parent will get custody are:
- Who is the primary caretaker
- Quality of home environment
- Parenting skills of each parent
- Mental and physical status of each parent
- Substance abuse and any history of domestic violence or criminal history
- The general employment situation of each parent
- Work schedules and availability to the child
- If a child is old enough, his or her preference.
- Sibling situation and where they reside as well as the relationship
- The current living arrangements of each parent
- Each parent’s ability to provide for their children.
- Each parent’s work schedule.
- The child’s relationship with siblings and other family members.
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other parent.
- The history of visitation
- How the children are performing in school and other developmental issues
Types of Child Custody in New York
There are various levels of custody that can be agreed upon by divorcing parents or ordered by the court. First, it must be determined whether the parents will have sole or joint legal and physical custody of their child.
Sole and Joint Custody
Sole custody is a court-ordered arrangement wherein one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child. With sole custody, the parent who has been granted custody is responsible for the child’s care, as well as making all decisions related to the child. The non-custodial parent may, however, be permitted to make basic day-to-day decisions when the child is in their care.
Joint custody is the preferred arrangement between parents in which they shall jointly agree on all issues regarding their child or children. This includes healthcare, schooling, religion, and the overall well-being of the child. This arrangement minimizes competition and loyalty conflicts but requires the parties to fully appreciate one another.
The courts will generally support these decisions as it is an option for parents who are able to make decisions together. In the event the parents are unable to communicate amicably and make parenting decisions without disagreements they will not be granted joint custody. If this is the case one parent will be granted legal custody of the child or children but may be required to at least seek input and opinion from the other parent before finalizing the decision.
Physical and Legal Custody
Sole legal custody may be awarded to one parent. In such case, the parent who has the legal custody of the child has the right to make important life decisions on behalf of their child. With joint legal custody both parents have a legal responsibility to decide on these aspects.
When sharing physical custody (visitation/access) a schedule for the indicated parent with whom the child will live for the designated period and subject to that parent’s rules is negotiated. Joint physical custody allows for the maximum involvement of both parents in their child’s life.
If one parent is granted sole physical property that parent is recognized as the primary guardian. Visitation will typically be arranged so that the non-custodial parent can spend time with the children on a regular basis on a pre-determined schedule.
Upon commencement of a divorce action, in the absence of an agreement, Temporary custody is the first thing a judge decides. This arrangement will remain in place during the divorce process. Once the divorce is finalized, the judge will sign off on permanent custody orders (unless, of course, the parties are able to amicably resolve the custody issues by agreement, written and signed.)
It is common for a temporary child custody order to be turned into a permanent one, so it is important for both sets of parents to remain involved with their children during the divorce process.
Child Custody Evaluation in New York
Child custody evaluations in New York are generally only necessary in contested divorce cases where the parents are either unwilling or unable to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of child access and how to resolve differences in the care and planning for the child of the parties.
The process then involves the appointment of a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker well educated and trained in the area of child centered concerns. The appointed professional then undertakes various tests and interviews to gather data and information sufficient to prepare and submit a report to the presiding judge. This is to help and assist the judge in determining which parent is best suited to act and engage in the “best ‘interest of the child” so as to promote the child’s care and development while also fostering a positive relationship between the child and the parent not to be granted primary custody.
In preparation, my client is made to focus on the needs of the child; the role each parent has played in the child’s life; the concerns of the issues in conflict; how to minimize such conflicts; and how to improve not only the dynamics between the parents but how to begin to initiate approaches for joint parenting or in the alternative identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each parent and how same can be utilized to carry on “in the best interest of the child.”
New York’s Relocation Rules Regarding Child Custody
If you are sharing custody of your child or children and wish to relocate out of New York State, you may require consent from the child’s other parent or obtain an order from the court.
Courts in New York try to ensure that children can maintain relationships with each of their parents. Both parents have an inherent right to see their child, regardless of whether or not they have full or joint custody. However, each parent also has the right to live their life according to their own desires. If that desire means relocating out of state, they may want to seek a change to their child custody agreement.
If this occurs, they will need to seek permission from either the opposite parent or the court. Like most matters pertaining to children of divorce, it comes down to what the court believes is in the child’s best interests. Regarding the issue of relocating a child’s home away from one of the parents, this will likely only be permissible if the move will not completely disrupt the child’s life, and if the child will clearly benefit from living with the parent that is moving.
Potential reasons for a relocation include:
- Job changes
- Financial opportunities
- Military transfer
- Illness or injury that requires treatment by specialized healthcare in another state
Relocating a child or children will not only affect the child and the non-custodial parent, but also their extended family, friends, school, and community. Because of the large impact a relocation can have, New York State Courts review these cases carefully to ensure the child’s best interests will be served by approving or denying the move.
When considering relocation, the Courts will take into account the following:
- Both parents’ reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation.
- The quality of the relationship and attachment between the child and each parent.
- The impact the move would have on the quality and consistency of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent.
- If there will be any negative impact or worsened hostility between the parents due to the move.
- The impact the move will have on the child’s relationships with extended family.
- The degree to which the custodial parent and child’s lifestyles may be enhanced economically, emotionally, and educationally by the move.
- The likelihood of preserving a meaningful relationship between the noncustodial parent and child.
- If the move would leave the noncustodial parent without meaningful access.
- The custodial parent’s reasons for wanting to relocate.
- The harm that may be caused if the move is not allowed.
- If a second marriage of the custodial parent is occurring and the relocation will have a positive impact on the child.In New York, if the parents have joint custody, the court will carefully review the planned relocation and hold a hearing to determine the best interest of the child. If one parent does relocate, the court will then modify the child custody order so that the parent with whom the child resides will become the primary custodial parent.
In New York, if the parents have joint custody, the court will carefully review the planned relocation and hold a hearing to determine the best interest of the child. If one parent does relocate, the court will then modify the child custody order so that the parent with whom the child resides will become the primary custodial parent.
Visitation Time and Parenting Time
Visitation terms provide each parent with access to a child. Visitation time is the time when a parent gets to see his or her child. We will support you to have as much parenting time as possible with your child or children. If you are a grandparent or non-biological parent you may be able to attain rights to spend time with your child or grandchildren as well.
If the parents can come to an agreement for the visitation schedule which absent abuse claims and violence-the system encourages, they will submit it to the judge. A detailed scheduled will help prevent future disputes. However, if the parents cannot agree to a visitation schedule, then the judge will set one. In the event the judge finds that either parent presents a substantial safety concern, visitation may be ordered to be supervised.
Resolving Complex Child Custody Issues
In some child custody cases in NYC, there are complex issues that make the case more complicated and involve hiring a lawyer specializing in child custody. Such issues may include:
- Allegations of abuse or neglect regarding the child
- Domestic violence
- Having a child with special needs
- Unique economic or residency situations
- One parent serving in the military
- One or both parents desiring to relocate or move out of state
Make Sure Your Parental Rights Are Protected
Make sure your parental rights are protected by contacting an experienced divorce and family lawyer in NYC. Paul Rudder, Esq. has a unique advantage in negotiating custody disputes as he also is often appointed by courts or other attorneys as an Attorney (Guardian) for children in high conflict divorces. Being a court appointed attorney for child custody in NYC gives him unique perspective and skills to negotiate for his clients and the best interests of their children. He will investigate and review the case facts and confidently defend your rights in court.
Contact an Accomplished Attorney for Child Custody Cases in New York City
Paul Rudder, Esq. is an experienced child law attorney in New York who will protect your rights and uphold the law. Family law can be extremely complicated.
If you need a child custody lawyer in NYC, please call Paul Rudder, Esq. at (212) 826-9900 to schedule a consultation. Mr. Rudder serves clients throughout New York City with an office conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan – 950 3rd Ave 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022.
Child Custody FAQs
When a custody trial is necessary?
A child custody trial is necessary whenever the parties are unable to settle the matter with the assistance of their respective attorneys.
Can a child decide who they wish to live with?
In these contested matters, the child has a voice (thru the appointed lawyer for the child) but not a vote! That being said, once a child is at least 16 years of age it is highly unlikely for a judge to make a visitation schedule for that child.
Child custody proceedings have at least a twofold arena: access (visitation) and decision making authority. When parents divorce, often their contentious relationship makes it very difficult if not impossible for them to resolve their differences when it comes to their child’s daily growth and development (health issues; school selections; choice of treating professionals; selection of religion; tutoring and training protocols; extra-curricular activities; vacation venues; introduction to new partners; etc. et al).
What age can a child make a decision to not see a parent?
Generally, a child who refuses to visit with one of the parents often sets in motion a series of court interventions. If it is determined that one parent has encouraged or insinuated such a reaction, multiple scenarios ensue. None of them is easy or beneficial. If there is no good and probable cause, one or the other parent will face serious consequences. If there is proof of matters involving domestic violence a different influx of reactions, interventions will result.
In either case, professional forensic assistance is often put into place. It is a most unpleasant and unfortunate experience as well as highly problematic and stressful. A child should never be placed in a position of having to make choices between “favorite” parent, or fear expressing love, care and affection for either parent or of course placed in a position of fear of abuse for having feelings and wishes regarding either parent.
How far can a parent move with joint custody in New York?
Either make that a point to be negotiated and resolved in the settlement discussions or else there are way too many variables to be able to answer. It really depends.
When should you resolve your child custody dispute through mediation?
To the extent reasonably possible, the parents should always attempt to amicably resolve custody and subsequent custody disputes in as amicable manner as possible under the circumstances then prevailing. Mediation is but one such resource.
Always try to reach a reasonable accord. Unfortunately, if the parties are so able to do that it is unlikely the matter would even escalate to the point where they had to consider alternate resolution forums. Just remember that the post-divorce course of action should be child centered: children first! But since we all act thru the filters of our own life experiences and biases; it takes strength and integrity to recognize the effect of our personal bias in selecting what we believe to be a child’s best interest.
Can anyone other than a parent gets custody of a child?
In unusual cases, someone other than a biologic parent can obtain custody. It can be a non-biologic adopting parent; it can be a domestic partner; it can be a grandparent. It takes a special showing of more than good cause. And ultimately, it’s once again must be “in the child’s best interest.”
Child Custody, Support & Visitation Related Articles: