5 Common Questions About Custody

Are you going through a divorce and have children? Read these 5 common questions about custody, then contact our Buffalo attorneys today.

1) How Do Judges Determine Child Custody?

  • 5 Common Questions About CustodyCustody decisions are based on many factors, especially the best interest of the children.
  • Discuss your specific custody situation with your attorney and learn what the courts will and will not consider in deciding where your children will live.
  • One of the court’s most important considerations when trying to determine custody is whether or not the parent seeking custody can successfully facilitate a relationship between the children and the other parent.
  • Willful interference with that essential relationship will reflect poorly with the court and may cause custody to be granted to the other parent.
  • Custody is a very complex area, so review your history with your attorney and choose the best course to move forward.

2) What are the Differences Between Joint Custody and Sole Custody?

  • Joint custody and sole custody are probably the two most common terms you will hear when discussing custody.
  • With joint custody, the court’s most important presumption is that the two parents can communicate with the other parent and work together in raising your children.
  • Most cases involve a joint custody agreement, with one spouse being designated as primary residential parent with whom the child lives.
  • Sometimes, the primary residence may be shared, but one parent is usually designated as the primary residential parent and will probably receive child support.
  • Sole custody gives one parent authority to make all decisions for the child without consulting the other parent, although the sole custodian may consult the other parent.

3) Does Joint Custody Mean 50/50 Access?

  • Joint child custody does not mean parents will be sharing time with the children equally.
  • Joint custody assumes parents will work together, but does not assume a 50/50 schedule.
  • Most joint custody situations have one parent designated as the primary residential parent whose home is the children’s primary address.
  • An access schedule may or may not provide for the children to spend 50% of their time with the other parent.
  • Time with the other parent may be based on the children’s needs and ages, as well as the parents’ work schedules.

4) Do You Need to Pay Child Support if You Have Joint Custody?

  • Simply put, child support will probably be involved in cases of joint custody with a primary residential parent.
  • Most people who have a 50/50 shared access schedule with their children will find that the higher earning parent will have a child support obligation – even with a 50/50 shared time schedule.
  • Asking for joint custody or half of the time with your children will not affect the parents’ obligation to pay child support or right to receive child support.
  • Because the courts consider child support and custody as separate issues, they will not decide on custody based on its effect on child support, but on the needs of the child.
  • Talk with your attorney about this complicated area because it can significantly impact your children and your financial situation.

5) Can You Relocate to Another State if You Have Sole Custody of the Children?

  • Sole custody does not give one parent license to relocate outside the current geographical area, and the court considers any move that affects the time children spend with the other parent as a relocation which requires a court order.
  • If you apply for such an order, the court will consider your reasons for wanting to move and how the children’s ability to see the other parent will be affected.
  • Obviously, the farther the contemplated move, the more difficult it will be to demonstrate that you can maintain the same level of access between the children and the other parent.
  • Alternatively, if the other parent has sought only very little contact with the children, that will probably work in your favor.

Are you or a loved one going through the divorce process? After reading these 5 common questions about custody, contact our dedicated Buffalo family law attorneys today for a confidential consultation. We welcome the opportunity to help you and your family reach the resolution you want.

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