When going through a divorce, one of the most challenging aspects for parents is determining child custody and visitation arrangements. Child custody and visitation decisions have a significant impact on the well-being of the children involved, and it is crucial to understand the requirements and processes involved in New York. At Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C., we are committed to helping families during this difficult time, providing legal guidance and support to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your children.
Child Custody and Visitation in New York: An Overview
In New York, child custody and visitation decisions are based on the best interests of the child. The court considers several factors when determining custody arrangements, aiming to create a stable and nurturing environment for the children involved. There are two primary types of child custody in New York:
Legal Custody: Legal custody refers to the authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religious practices. It can be awarded to one parent (sole legal custody) or both parents (joint legal custody).
Physical Custody: Physical custody determines where the child will live primarily. It can be awarded solely to one parent (sole physical custody) or shared between both parents (joint physical custody).
Factors Considered in Child Custody and Visitation Determinations
When making custody and visitation decisions, the court takes various factors into account, such as:
- The child’s age, physical and mental health, and any special needs they may have.
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s emotional and physical well-being.
- The quality of the relationship between the child and each parent.
- The stability of each parent’s home environment.
- Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent.
- The preferences of older children, taking into consideration their maturity level.
These factors, among others, help the court evaluate what arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.
Parenting Plans and Visitation Schedules
To facilitate a smooth transition for the children and parents alike, it is essential to create a comprehensive parenting plan. A parenting plan outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent and provides a framework for visitation schedules, decision-making processes, and dispute-resolution methods. In cases where parents are unable to agree on these matters, the court may step in to establish a parenting plan.
The court may consider various factors when determining visitation schedules, such as:
- The child’s age and developmental needs.
- Each parent’s work schedule and availability.
- The proximity between the parents’ residences.
- The child’s relationship with extended family members.
- Any history of domestic violence or abuse.
Visitation schedules can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each family, including specific arrangements for holidays, vacations, and special occasions.
Modifying Custody and Visitation Orders
Child custody and visitation orders are not set in stone. As circumstances change over time, modifications to the original order may be necessary. Common reasons for modifying custody and visitation orders include:
- Relocation: If one parent intends to move a significant distance away, it may require adjustments to the custody and visitation arrangement.
- Changes in a parent’s circumstances: Job changes, health issues, or remarriage can impact a parent’s ability to fulfill their custodial responsibilities.
- Concerns for the child’s safety: If there are legitimate concerns about a child’s well-being, such as abuse or neglect, it may be necessary to modify custody arrangements.
To modify an existing custody or visitation order, you will need to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances and that the proposed modification is in the child’s best interests.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Navigating child custody and visitation matters can be complex and emotionally challenging. Having the support of an experienced family law attorney can make a significant difference in achieving the desired outcome. At Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C., our team of dedicated attorneys understand the intricacies of New York family law and is committed to providing compassionate and effective representation for our clients.
If you need assistance with child custody and visitation in a New York divorce, we are here to help. Our attorneys will guide you through the process, explain your rights, and advocate for your best interests and the well-being of your children.
Contact Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. today to schedule a consultation. Let us navigate this challenging journey together and ensure the best possible outcome for your family.
Call us today to schedule a consultation and receive the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. Our experienced attorneys at Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner & Gambino, P.C. are here to protect your rights and help you navigate child custody and visitation in your New York divorce.