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New York Child Custody Attorneys

Seeking Visitation, Sole or Joint Custody in NY? We Can Help!NYC couple arguing over child custody

Divorce can become more complicated when children are involved. Most likely, both you and your spouse want what is best for your children. While it may be somewhat easy to decide who gets certain property, determining who a child should live with and what is in his or her best interests is much more difficult and complicated.

When your children's future on the line, you need to be confident that you are going above and beyond to ensure that the best possible resolution is reached.

By working with a New York child custody lawyer from Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, you can breathe easier knowing you will have a seasoned, experienced, and aggressive advocate on your side. Over the last several decades, our firm has helped more than 3,000 families throughout New York.

Do you need help regarding a child custody matter? Get in touch with an NYC custody attorney at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC to learn more about your rights and legal options. We will get you started with a complimentary case evaluation.

What Are the Different Types of Child Custody?

In order to better suit the unique needs of each family and child, there are a variety of custody arrangements. In New York, there are two types of custody: "Physical Custody" and "Legal Custody." Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with, and legal custody refers to which parent has the legal authority and duty to make important decision's regarding the child's life. For each of these categories, one parent might be granted "sole custody" or both parents might be granted "joint custody."

  • Sole Physical Custody: When a child only lives with one parent. The non-custodial parent is usually granted visitation rights.
  • Joint Physical Custody: When the child lives with both parents at different times
  • Sole Legal Custody: When only one parent has the ultimate authority to make decisions about the child's education, religion, healthcare, extracurricular activities, etc.
  • Joint Legal Custody: When both parents must work together to make important decisions about their child's life

How Do I Get Visitation Rights?

For fathers going through the divorce process, you may be concerned as to whether your rights will be protected and how the child custody case will result. If you are a mother filing for divorce, you may have concerns regarding the custody of your children and spousal support payments you may be entitled to if granted custody by a family court. In either case, you will need an attorney who is well-versed in child custody law on your side to deal with these matters.

There are several types of visitation that may be awarded to the parent who was not granted primary custody of their children. Additionally, the grandparents of a child on both the maternal and paternal side may request visitation schedules during the divorce process as well.

While many divorces run smoothly after the child custody and visitation schedules have been agreed upon by both parties or appointed by a family court, there are certain situations that can result in a dispute of the visitation schedule. At a time such as this, it is suggested that you have an attorney present.

Best Interests of the Child

New York Domestic Relations Law §70(a) dictates that:

“in all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent, but the court shall determine solely what is for the best interest of the child, and what will best promote its welfare and happiness , and make award accordingly”

The courts understand this to mean as follows:

“In a custody proceeding arising out of a dispute between divorced parents, the first concern of the court is and must be the welfare and the interests of the children. Their interests are paramount. The rights of their parents must, in the case of conflict, yield to that superior demand. Lincoln v. Lincoln, 24 N.Y.2d 270, 299 N.Y.S.2d 842, 247 N.E.2d 659 (1969).

This statutory standard, as applied by the courts, is known as the best interest of the child standard. When the courts become involved in a determination of your family’s post-divorce dynamic, the court is going to make such a determination using the best interest of the child standard.

Issues to Consider in a Child Custody Case

If you and your spouse wish to carry out an uncontested divorce, you will both need to agree on how your child custody arrangements will work. If you do not agree, the divorce becomes "contested" and the custody matter will be taken to court. Leaving the decision up to a judge can be risky, as you might not receive the custody rights you are entitled to.

If you need help understanding the best course of action regarding child custody in your particular situation, we encourage you to speak with a New York child custody attorney at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC as soon as possible.

Make Sure Your Rights to Your Children Are Protected

Here at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, our legal team has provided families throughout New York State with the effective legal representation that they need during any matter related to child custody, child support, visitation or divorce. One of the main reasons that we are able to provide such high-quality representation for these cases includes our past experience in representing over 500 child custody cases over a period of 30 years. We know how to handle these cases.

Child Custody FAQs

  • What factors are taken into consideration in a custody battle? In deciding custody and visitation, a judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child. Most commonly, the court will look at the following factors when deciding custody:
    • Who has been the primary caretaker of the child
    • The child's current living situation, and how long it has been so
    • The child's preference (depending on his or her age)
    • Whether the child would be separated from siblings
    • Whether either parent is actively trying to cut the other parent out of the child's life
    • Whether either parent has been abusive in any way or if ​​domestic violence has been involved
    • The age of children and parents
    • The sex of children and parents
    • The health of both the children and the parents
    • The lifestyle of both parents
    • The emotional bond between parents and child
    • Each parent's ability and desire to provide a healthy and stable environment
    • Each parent's ability to provide emotional and intellectual support to the child
  • Do courts usually award custody to just one parent? It used to be common to award sole custody, typically to the mother, but now it is much more common for courts to award joint custody so that both parents can share the parental responsibility and decision-making power.
  • What happens if I need to move with my kids? While most courts are accepting of relocation, it needs approval and if the noncustodial parent contests it, there will be issues that should be handled by a legal professional.
  • Will there be drug tests when determining custody? Drug tests are not administered every time, but it is likely that the courts will require both parents to participate in a drug test. By failing to take the drug test, it could result in serious repercussions such as a suspension of visitation rights.

If you have more questions or would like to discuss your case with a knowledgeable New York child custody attorney, you should not hesitate to contact us at Eiges & Orgel, PLLC as soon as possible.

Modifying Child Custody in New York

In order to make changes to your current child custody and visitation order, you will need to file a petition with the court that originally issued it. For the modification to be approved, you must provide evidence that there is a significant change in your circumstances since the original order and the requested modification is in your children’s best interests.

Significant changes in circumstances can include:

  • Loss of employment

  • Financial hardships

  • Remarriage

  • Relocation of home

  • Health issues by either party

  • Abandonment

  • Neglect or domestic abuse

  • The child has become older and has requested a change

In New York, the law allows for custody orders to be modified if a parent was deployed by the military, and they are requesting the modification upon their return. The court will still need to determine that this change is in the best interests of the child before issuing the modification.

Even if you have a substantial change in circumstances, the court does not have to grant a modification of your custody and visitation order. Regardless of why you are requesting the modification, the court must be able to see how it is best for your child’s interests. This is their number one priority when making any custody-related decisions.

What to do if Your Ex Violates Your Custody Agreement

Violating a custody agreement is a serious issue, and could lead to harsh consequences for the offending parent. Not only is it a violation of a court order, but changing custody arrangements can have a severe impact on your child, leading to emotional distress and hurt feelings. In order to handle the situation, consider the following options.

Talk to Your Ex

Try discussing the issue with your child’s parent and see if you can’t come to some sort of agreement. Reminding them of the pain their bringing your child may help them realized the error of their ways, but it may agitate them. Email may be best, because it is documented and can’t as easily lead to an argument as an in-person discussion or phone call. You may also propose a change in custody, if the current arrangement isn’t working out.

Mediation

Choosing to go through mediation could be a smart, safe way for both of you to discuss the issue of custody and their violation. A third party observer may be able to explain the issue to your ex in a way that you could not, with simple facts and legal support.

File for Contempt

The last option, if your ex continually violates custody and will not cooperate or communicate with you in a helpful manner, is filing for contempt. This will require court time, where you may prove that your ex did not follow the custody agreement and a change in custody is in order. Adjusting custody to allow you to have more time with your child may protect them from any more disappointment and save them any more hurt feelings in the long run.

What Qualifies as an Unfit Parent?

In New York, an unfit parent can be described in multiple ways. An unfit parent can be a parent that struggles with substance abuse, physical abuse, or sexual abuse. They repeatedly participate in negative and dangerous behaviors like these and more around the child. Additionally, if the parent puts the child in harmful situations, this could be proof of unfitness.

Examples of unfit parenting include:

  • Improperly supervising the child

  • Not providing the child with basic needs

  • The child is subject to dangerous conditions or safety hazards

  • The child’s other parent hangs out with dangerous people like gang members or convicted criminals

How to Prove A Parent Is Unfit

Although a parent may know or have witnessed unfit behavior, it must be proven in order to have legal consequences. In a custody case, a judge must be able to determine whether a parent is unfit based on evidence.

Evidence that could help the court determine the unfitness of a parent may include:

  • Testimony from witnesses

  • Video documentation

  • Medical reports of physical injuries and mental health problems

  • Text messages, voicemails, emails, and social media posts

  • Drug and alcohol testing

  • Criminal records

If you have any doubts that your child is in danger while around their other parent, do not hesitate to share this information with the court. Your child’s safety is the most important thing, so make sure you provide any and all evidence that you have.

After evidence is gathered, paperwork will need to be filed. This is best done with an attorney who can help explain documentation. To serve the paperwork, you will need to legally provide this documentation to the other parent, so they have the opportunity to defend themselves.

Contact Eiges & Orgel, PLLC for a Comprehensive Case Evaluation

If you are currently in the middle of a heated child custody debate, you are not alone. All throughout the state, many families who are filing for divorce find themselves in a tricky situation regarding child custody problems. Our firm can help you through the divorce stages and even if a custody problem surfaces post-divorce. Not only does our team have over 60 years of legal experience, but we are also very proud to provide a unique approach to each family law situation.

No matter what legal issue you may be enduring with your family, our attorneys are here to help! With a qualified New York child custody lawyer at our office, we can guide you through the process of securing child custody during divorce, obtaining child support, and scheduling visitation. We have decades of legal experience and have even handled over 500 child custody cases in the past. When you need an advocate of your rights on your side, call our law firm today!

Contact a New York City child custody attorney from our firm to schedule a consultation. We are here to help you and your family.

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