Legal vs. Physical Custody
New York Child Custody Attorney
If you are dealing with a custody-related dispute, you are probably familiar
with the terms physical custody and legal custody. What do these mean,
and how may they impact your case? Understanding more about child custody
and how it may impact your
divorce can help you make informed choices about your case, which can in turn
help you reach an ideal agreement or judgment. At Eiges & Orgel, PLLC
we can offer the legal representation you need to resolve your custody
New York child custody attorneys have more than 40 years of legal experience and have been handling these
matters for more than three decades.
The New York State Unified Court System defines legal custody as "the
right to make major decisions about your child." This may include
key decisions related to medical care, education and schooling, religion
and more. If it is considered in a child's best interests, parents
will share joint legal custody of a child, meaning they will work together
to make these decisions about their child's upbringing. This typically
requires a considerable amount of communication and cooperation from both parents.
If the court determines that sole legal custody is better for a child,
the parent with physical custody rights will typically be awarded legal
custody as well. The other parent may be informed of major decisions involving
the child's upbringing and may even offer input, but the final say
on such matters will lie with the custodial parent.
Physical custody addresses who a child lives with on a day-to-day basis.
A parent who has primary physical custody may be referred to as the custodial
parent or primary caretaker. This parent will spend the most time with
the child and will be responsible for the child's care the majority
or all of the time, depending on the custody arrangement. If a parent
is awarded primary custody, the other parent may be granted visitation rights.
Parents may also share physical custody of a child, based on a set agreement
and schedule, such as weekdays with one parent and weekends with the other,
one week with one parent and one week with the other, etc. The goal in
any physical custody arrangement will be to create as stable of an environment
as possible for the child based on what is in his or her best interests.
Custody Determination by New York Courts
determining physical and legal custody, the court may look at the current arrangement and its workability, as
well as additional issues, such as: each parent's living situation,
the child's wishes, each parent's ability to care for the child
and to provide emotional and intellectual support, each parent's involvement
with the child to date, and whether either parent has been abusive. The
court may also appoint an "Attorney for the Child," who will
interview the child and can argue for what is in his or her best interests,
even if the parents disagree.
Once legal and physical custody have been determined, it can be difficult
to modify such agreements or judgments. A significant change in circumstances,
however, may warrant such a
modification. Custody arrangements may also influence
child support payments, as a custodial parent may be entitled to financial support from
the noncustodial parent to help with the child's care. Child support
is determined based on a set formula set forth by New York law.
Are you ready to get additional insight regarding custody that applies
to your unique situation? Involve a New York custody lawyer at our firm.
We are experienced, compassionate and ready to fight for our clients' rights.