Having a family is the most wonderful and fulfilling part of an individual’s life. However, families sometimes break up, and when they do, it usually involves the courts and can the process can be contentious. Children are the glue that hold families together. When those families break up into smaller units, the children are the ones who continue to bring joy those separate units. In the sections that follow, some family law topics that relate specifically to children will be expounded.
1. Child Support
A fairly common occurrence when both parents share joint custody is to wonder if they have to pay child support if they have joint custody. Child support refers to the financial obligation of the noncustodial parent towards raising a child. This comes in the form of regular payments to the custodial parent. New York state has a law called the Child Support Standards Act, which sets forth a specific formula for calculating the base child support obligation. However, this base amount is subject to adjustment, depending on specific facts of the case.
2. Child Custody
When couples divorce, their cohabitation ends and they make separate and mutually exclusive living arrangements. This poses considerable challenges to their roles as parents and may also impose strain on their task of raising their child. Even though they may both have a say in how the child should be raised, the fact remains that the child can only live with one parent at a time. This is usually hardest on the child(ren) concerned. In other situations, only one parent may be legally permitted to make important decisions about the child even though the child will spend a large amount of time living with each parent. New York State courts always work to put the child’s interests first in all custody decisions.
We here at Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino P.C. have considerable experience at helping our clients through different matters pertaining to child custody. From helping you understand how judges determine child custody and what level of access it gives you, the difference between joint and sole custody, to child custody for unmarried parents, we will ensure that your estrangement from your ex does not get in the way of the beautiful relationship you share with your child(ren).
3. Visitation Rights
There are myriad factors that affect parenting time and access, factors that we are experienced at navigating to help you acquire the parenting schedule you want. In certain situations, the court may grant one parent sole physical custody of a child following a divorce. Except in cases of domestic violence or other extreme circumstances, the court also grants visitation rights to the noncustodial parent. Parents decide the visitation schedule. However, in situations where they are unable to do so or where it is not possible, the court formulates the visitation schedule based on what it deems to be in the best interest of the child.
4. Paternity Issues
Children need the love and care of both parents. And as a result, they deserve to know who their fathers are. Thus, establishing paternity in New York is important: it upholds family values. It also provides for a variety of rights and responsibilities for the legal father, such as child support, visitation rights, the right to make certain decisions about the child’s life and the right to notification about things like medical events. Unfortunately, determining paternity is not as simple as taking a DNA test, as there are other factors a court must consider before establishing paternity. At Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, we work diligently to ensure your child(ren) gets the best the love of both his/her parents.
New York state provides for two ways in which a family may adopt: private placement or agency adoption. Private placement occurs between the birth and adoptive family and does not require government involvement except for court approvals. In an agency adoption, a private or social services agency will facilitate and oversee the adoption process. Regardless of the method, the adopting parents, biological parents and any agency involved must observe certain steps. These include seeking certification from the court, terminating the parental rights of the birth parents and gaining final court approval.
If you or a loved one is concerned about how a divorce or separation will affect your children, or if you are planning on adopting, please give our offices a call so we can guide you through the process. After all, it is all about the children.