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Divorce rates in New York City may be among the lowest of large, metropolitan areas, but when it happens, children are often stuck in the middle of all the drama.
Relationships end. It’s a fact, but two adults falling out of love with each other does not change their love for their children. That is why child custody cases can become so emotional and intense. Both parents are staking a claim to their offspring, battling it out to make sure they get the kids. Since these cases are decided in a courtroom, the winner is likely the parent with the best legal know-how.
Winning a custody fight starts with knowing how to fight, and that means understanding how the process works. Child custody cases are not as simple as giving the children to the parent they spend the most time with. Multiple factors are considered to make sure things work out in the best interest of the child. New York statutes are complex and can be a challenge to understand for those without a firm grasp of legal knowledge and terminology. Using skilled and experienced attorneys means you won’t have to figure out New York family law. With the right legal team to fight for your rights as a parent, your child custody case can be settled quickly and in your favor.
• Relationships between the children and each parent
• Financial ability of each parent to provide for the child or children
• Each parents home environment and whether it is safe and suitable for children
• How well the child adjusts to the home, school or community environment where they will live
• Both physical and mental health of both parents and child
• Medical needs of the children
• A history of violence by either parent
• Criminal history of either parent
• Abuse or neglect of the child
• Parent’s wishes
• Children’s preferences, if the child is over age 12
• Recommendations from expert witnesses
Custody Types and Issues
Courts award sole, physical, legal or joint custody or variations of each one. Physical custody deals with the child’s living arrangements, while legal custody enables a parent to make decisions about the child’s life. When joint legal custody is awarded, both parents have equal rights in the decision making process. They must discuss and agree upon medical care, religion, education and other important decisions related to the child.
Joint legal custody works for couples who have an amicable separation, but for those who tend to disagree with each other, this type of custody is often a challenge. Changing a custody agreement is difficult in New York so it’s important to get the right legal advice to guide you in pursuing an arrangement you and the other parent can live with.
An experienced lawyer also helps in cases where the couple is not married, and the father’s paternity was never established. At birth, hospitals have each parent sign, under oath, an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” form, which is notarized. If the father is not present or does not sign the form, he has no legal rights where the child is concerned. He cannot pursue custody or even visitation. Fathers in this situation need legal guidance to establish paternity and fight for their parental rights.
How to Win Your Case
Start by knowing which type of custody you want to pursue. While physical custody may be your desire, will it work with your job or lifestyle? Going into the process with the right goals will help get you the best outcome. Next, be willing to negotiate with the other parent. Finally, get the right legal team, one with knowledge and experience and who understands how meaningful your kids are to you. Get attorneys who will pull together the evidence and support necessary to get you the win in court.
You want your children, and Spokek Law Group can help you get them. Since 1976, our family-owned law firm has worked with parents to resolve custody issues in their favor. Whether it is physical custody, joint custody, visitation or another arrangement, we put our years of legal know how to work for you at the negotiating table or at trial, if necessary. Call Spodek Law Group for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.