Bronx Child Custody Lawyer

Relentless Child Custody Attorney Serving New York

When it comes to any divorce or legal separation, child custody is one of the most contested matters. It can be challenging if you and your spouse cannot agree on who will have primary custody and who will have legal custody. If you are not married to the other parent of your child, obtaining custody can be problematic without proper representation from a child custody lawyer. If you are currently involved in a divorce or other family law case, you must act quickly to hire a Bronx child custody attorney.

Call Empire Law today at (347) 378-1170 or contact us online for a free consultation with our child custody attorney in Bronx, NY.

How Is Child Custody Determined In New York?

The best-case scenario in any divorce or legal matter involving child custody is if you and the other parent can remain amicable and develop a proposed child custody and visitation agreement. If you and the other parent of your child cannot decide who should have custody, the decision is left to the family court. The family court attempts to do what is best for the child and involves both parents whenever possible.

A few factors that they may consider include:

  • Which parent the child prefers to live with
  • The parent's physical and financial ability to support the child
  • The financial situation and income of each parent
  • The needs of the child (health, education, etc.)
  • If there is any history of domestic abuse or drug use

Understanding The Child Custody Process In New York

Typically, custody is separated into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to decide the child's:

  • Welfare
  • Religion
  • Education
  • Health

Physical custody involves which parent the child will live with. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be awarded joint custody, primary (sole) custody, or another type of custody situation.

Is NY a 50/50 Custody State?

The state of NY does not require 50/50 child custody. Therefore, NY has no automatic presumption that both parents should have a 50/50 custody arrangement. However, 50/50 custody arrangements are possible in NY, and the courts generally prefer having both parents involved in the child's life.

The Criteria For An Unfit Parent In New York

In custody cases, the ruling judge will make decisions that reflect the best interest of the child. This typically results in an agreement that splits the child’s time between both parents. If you have reason to believe that your co-parent is unfit to serve as their guardian, our lawyers can help you raise that concern in court and work towards sole custody.

New York courts consider the following when evaluating a parent’s fitness, or lack thereof, to be a guardian:

  • A parent’s mental health
  • A parent’s physical health
  • Any history of abuse
  • Any history of neglect, such as failing to feed, wash, or keep their child clothed
  • If a parent abuses drugs or alcohol
  • Their ability to provide their child with basic necessities, medical care, and education

Our child custody lawyer here at Empire Law in the Bronx, will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine if there is room to pursue sole custody based on your co-parent's ineptitude to be a proper guardian.

At What Age Can A Child Refuse Visitation In New York?

New York law requires custody and visitation decisions to be respected until the child turns 18. While there is little a court can do to enforce these decisions if a child is non-compliant, it is nevertheless important for the custodial parent to make reasonable efforts to maintain the visitation agreement, as it is a court order. This means that any failure to uphold the visitation agreement leaves the custodial parent susceptible to legal consequences.

Still, the courts may find valid reason to relax the visitation requirement if a noncustodial parent is unable to care for their child, or if their home is unsafe. In these situations, a court may:

  • Suspend visitation
  • Order supervised visitation
  • Eliminate the visitation requirement

The court will give more consideration to an older, more mature child’s desire to modify or end visitation requirements.

Can The Child Choose Which Parent To Live With?

Judges allow children to voice their preferences, but New York law does not require the ruling magistrate to act in accordance with the child's desires.

As with most states, the judges will typically give more consideration to the wishes of older children. Still, these preferences are not the only thing judges or court magistrates will contemplate before offering their ruling. They will combine the child's statements with their knowledge of the child's needs and maturity and the parents' wellbeing, stability, and schedule to make a decision reflecting the child's best interest.

New York Standard Visitation Schedule

New York standard visitation schedules offer noncustodial parents a few hours of weekly visitation rights on one weeknight, along with overnight visits on alternating weekends. While judges may elect to award noncustodial parents more visitation, they will not offer less than this bare minimum.

Will My Ex-Wife Automatically Win Custody Of Our Kids?

The family court is most concerned with the children's best interests, so when deciding which parent should be the children's primary custodian, they will consider a number of factors rather than simply awarding custody to the mother. The judge will consider such factors as:

  • the physical and mental health of the children
  • their emotional and physical needs
  • each parent's financial situation
  • the child's wishes
  • the parent's willingness to work together and encourage their children to have a relationship with both parents

Our Bronx child custody attorney can provide you with powerful advocacy during your custody hearings and ensure your voice is heard.

Are you dealing with child custody issues? Contact Empire Law today at (347) 378-1170 or online to schedule a meeting with our Bronx child custody lawyer.

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