Rockland County Child Custody and Visitation Attorney
Creative and Stable Co-Parenting Arrangements in the Hudson Valley
Whether you are a parent considering divorce or an unmarried parent seeking custody or visitation, child custody disputes can be extremely stressful. The outcome of your custody case will have a fundamental impact on your parenting relationship with your children. Rockland County child custody attorney Robert S. Lewis has over 35 years of experience developing creative amicable child custody and visitation arrangements.
While we provide persuasive advocacy when pursuing the interest of our clients and their children, Mr. Lewis understands parents and their children both benefit when child custody and visitation orders are resolved amicably. When parents negotiate mutually agreeable custody and visitation orders, the parents can reduce their anxiety and make the process easier on their children. Further, an amicable settlement will also tend to result in more acceptable child custody and visitation orders than those imposed by a judge who has far less familiarity with a family’s situation.
Types of Custody: Legal vs. Physical Custody
There are two forms of custody that can be shared jointly by both parents or granted solely to one of the parents. In cases where custody is granted to one parent, the other parent will almost always be granted visitation. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about issues like medical care, education, religious training and other major child-rearing decisions. Legal custody will usually be joint provided both parents appear capable of cooperating. Minor everyday decisions, such as bedtime, discipline and other matters are exercised by the parent who is exercising custody at any particular point in time.
Physical custody refers to the parenting schedule in terms of where the child will live. The law does not favor either the father or mother but requires the court to consider the unique facts of the situation, the circumstances of each parent and the best interests of the children. When the parents cannot agree on custody and visitation orders, the court will consider a range of factors when applying the best interest of the child standard.
New York Child Custody: Best Interest of the Child Factors
New York statutes do not specifically articulate the factors that judges must weigh under the best interest of the child standard, so judges have broad discretion. Some of the factors that family law judges consider include:
Status Quo: If one of the parents has been the primary caretaker for the children, this parent might have an advantage in the custody case. Family law judges recognize that a marital dissolution or paternity case means many changes for children, so maintaining a stable parenting and living arrangement that is working will generally be a desirable alternative for the court.
Preference of the Child: Depending on the child’s age and maturity, the court will consider the child’s preferences. The court will be inclined to give more weight to the preferences of the children if they can articulate a reasonable basis for their preference.
Maintaining Siblings in Household: Generally, a family law judge will try to keep siblings together, but this preference can be overridden by the divergent needs of the siblings.
Parents Health: Both the physical and mental health of the parents will be considered to the degree it impacts their parenting capacity.
Relationship to Family Members: The court will review the relationships of the children with all members of each parents household.
These are only a few examples of some of the common types of relevant considerations that family law judges evaluate when developing timeshare schedules. Robert S. Lewis has extensive experience fashioning innovative child custody solutions, but some issues tend to promote more contentious high conflict custody disputes, such as:
- Domestic violence against any member of the household;
- Child abuse and neglect;
- Substance abuse;
- Certain criminal convictions; and
- Parental relocations.
If you are involved in a divorce or paternity case involving child custody or visitation in Rockland County, we can effectively represent your interests whether negotiating a custody plan or litigating a high conflict custody dispute. We invite you to contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C. at 845-358-7100 to learn how we can help. Se habla Español.