Child Custody Attorney Buffalo, NY
How is Child Custody Determined in New York?
Child custody is one of the most sensitive parts of family law cases and requires careful consideration and professional insight to resolve peacefully. Attorney Gina DePrima of DePrima Law in Buffalo has been in practice for more than 15 years, helping countless families reach resolutions both in and out of the courtroom.
In New York, child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child. The specific matters involved will differ in each case, but some of the factors that are used to decide what is in the child’s best interests include:
- Which parent has been the primary caregiver
- Each parent’s parenting skills and ability to provide for any special needs of the child
- Each parent’s mental health
- Each parent’s physical health
- Any history of domestic violence
- Each parent’s work schedule
- The relationship the child has with any other members of the family
- The child’s preference (depending on the child’s age)
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other parent
Since child custody cases are particularly sensitive with results that will have a considerable impact on your family and your life moving forward, it’s important that you seek out well-qualified legal counsel that understands how to reach a conclusion that does not rely on courtroom battles. You want a knowledgeable advocate looking out for the best interests of you and your child. With her furthered background as a mediator and co-parenting coach, Attorney DePrima is ready to promote a peaceful, holistic approach to child custody cases.
New York Legal & Physical Custody Laws
Child custody laws differ depending on the state where your case is being handled. In the state of New York, child custody is broken up into two forms: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make the important decisions for their child. Depending on the circumstances, legal custody can be shared or it may be awarded to one parent.
Physical custody is the right and responsibility a parent has to provide physical care of the child. This can also be awarded to one parent or may be divided between the two.
Overall, shared child custody is often not a question of whether the parents will share parentage time, but rather "how" parents will share parenting time. It is not always 50/50, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every family is unique in their needs. We use our nonconfrontational approach to casework to try to ensure parenting time is split fairly and in a way that benefits everyone.
The Evidentiary Hearing Process
Child custody decisions can be made together by a couple. This is the ideal outcome, as it leaves control in the hands of both parents, rather than relying on a court. Once again, our law firm recommends using mediation whenever possible to achieve amicable outcomes.
However, when an agreement cannot be reached between two divorcing parents, the decision may be left to the court during an evidentiary hearing. When a case goes before the court, the judge will consider a number of factors to decide how to split child custody rights and responsibilities, but their focus is always on what is best for the child.
The process of an evidentiary hearing or trial includes:
- Each parent may give their testimony.
- Other witnesses may be called to give testimony.
- The judge may read caseworker reports and other expert reports if they are available.
- The child and the judge may speak in private.
- The judge will consider what they believe is best for the child.
- Once everything is heard, an order is given stating custody and visitation rights.
New York Child Custody FAQs
- What is an Order of Visitation? - This refers to when the non-custodial parent or a grandparent is granted time to physically visit the child.
- Can I deny visitation to my ex-spouse when child support goes unpaid? - If the court has granted your ex-spouse visitation rights, then you cannot deny that visitation, even if child support is not paid. These are two separate issues that the court determines, and one cannot be used as leverage against the other. That does not mean there are not ways to enforce child support if the court has ordered it, so do not hesitate to contact our firm for help regarding that.
- Can I get the custody order changed? - Yes, it is possible to modify a custody order. However, you will need to prove that circumstances of significantly changed since the original order was finalized. Learn more about divorce modifications and contact us today!
- Will I get child support if I have custody? - Possibly! If you are the parent with primary custody (more than 50% physical custody), then you are eligible to receive child support payments. If custody is split 50/50, then you could be entitled to child support payments if you make less money than your ex-spouse.
Seeking Better Solutions for Your Child – Call (716) 638-2633
No one wants to end up fighting in front of a judge when they are just trying to keep spending time with their child after a divorce, yet it happens to divorcing couples all of the time. To do what you can to keep your child custody case calm and collected, choose to work with our Buffalo child custody attorney, Gina DePrima. Her experience gained from working on both sides of the courtroom and as a mediator let her see the clearest path with the least opportunity for needless conflict, just as you and your child deserve.