When life takes an unexpected turn through divorce, the well-being and future of your children become paramount. At Lacy Katzen LLP, we understand the delicate balance of emotions and legal complexities that parents face in these challenging times. Contact a dedicated Rochester child custody lawyer from our firm today so we can help ensure your child’s best interests are met.
Child Custody Lawyer | Here for Families in Rochester, NY
We recognize that every family is unique, each with its own dynamics, aspirations, and concerns. Our mission is to stand by you, champion your cause, and empower you with knowledge, so you can make informed decisions about your child’s future. Speak with a seasoned Rochester family lawyer from Lacy Katzen LLP.
Understanding the Types of Custody
Child custody can be categorized in two primary ways; by the nature of the custody (joint or sole) and by the type of custody (physical or legal).
Joint vs. Sole Custody:
- Joint Custody: Both parents share responsibilities and decision-making regarding the child. This doesn’t necessarily mean the child spends equal time with both parents.
- Sole Custody: One parent has primary responsibility and decision-making authority. The other parent may still have visitation rights.
Physical vs. Legal Custody
- Physical Custody: Refers to where the child resides. A parent with primary physical custody has the child living with them most of the time.
- Legal Custody: Refers to the authority to make significant decisions about the child’s life, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. It’s possible for one parent to have physical custody while both parents share legal custody.
Factors Courts Consider in Determining Child Custody
In New York, the primary concern in any child custody case is the best interests of the child. While this may seem like a broad term, courts evaluate several specific factors to determine what living arrangement would best serve the child’s welfare, including:
- Parental Ability: The court assesses each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment, cater to the child’s developmental needs, and foster a loving relationship.
- Child’s Wishes: Depending on the child’s age and maturity, their preference may be taken into account.
- Parental Cooperation: The willingness of each parent to cooperate and communicate regarding child-rearing decisions is crucial.
- History of Domestic Violence: Any history of abuse or domestic violence can significantly impact custody decisions.
- Work Schedules and Availability: The court will consider each parent’s work schedule and availability to care for the child.
- Physical and Mental Health: The health of each parent, both physical and mental, can influence custody decisions.
- Home Environment: The safety, stability, and overall environment of each parent’s home are evaluated.
Modifying Child Custody Arrangements
Life is unpredictable, and circumstances change. New York recognizes this and allows for modifications to child custody arrangements under specific conditions, including:
- Significant Change in Circumstances: This could include relocation, a change in work schedule, or any other major life event that affects the child’s well-being.
- Endangerment to the Child: If there’s evidence that the child’s current environment is harmful, a court may reconsider custody arrangements.
- Violation of the Custody Agreement: If one parent consistently violates the terms of the custody agreement, it may be grounds for modification.
- Child’s Wishes: As children grow and mature, their preferences may change, and the court might take their new wishes into account.
Contact Lacy Katzen LLP
Child custody matters are deeply personal and can be emotionally charged. Understanding the legal framework in New York State is crucial for parents and guardians to make informed decisions. Whether you’re seeking joint or sole custody, or need to modify an existing arrangement, it’s always advisable to consult with a knowledgeable Rochester child custody lawyer. Our team is here to provide guidance tailored to your unique situation, ensuring the best possible outcome for both you and your child. Contact Lacy Katzen LLP today.