Child Custody Lawyer in Queens
We Create Custody Plans That Work
Child custody is a frightening concept for many parents. A child custody plan—whether born out of divorce or another scenario—can change the relationship you have with your child. We know how scary this can be. We also know that there are solutions to child custody matters that can preserve the special relationship you have with your child. We can help you find them.
At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, our team are committed to negotiating a parenting plan that allows you to see your children as much as possible. Our Queens child custody attorneys know your rights, and we can help protect them with our experienced counsel.
How Is Child Custody Determined in NY?
In New York, the best interests of the child are the main concern when determining orders of custody. When determining what type of arrangement is best for the children involved, the court will consider the following:
- Current living situations
- Parenting abilities of each parent
- Physical and mental health of each parent
- Each parent's work schedule
- Current childcare arrangements
- The ability of each parent to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent
- Each parent's financial resources
Legal & Physical Custody in New York
Before continuing, it's important to understand the different types of custody.
Legal custody governs a parent's ability to make decisions for their child's livelihood, such as where they go to school, what extracurricular activities they participate in, what kind of medical care they receive, etc.
Physical custody governs a parent's ability to house or visit their child.
Whichever parent the child lives with a majority of the time is the custodial parent, even if they only house the child one more night per year than the other. Custodial parents get certain benefits, such as head-of-household tax breaks. For this reason, many parents trade off status as the custodial parent every other year.
There are two kinds of custody arrangements:
- Joint custody. When parents have joint custody, they each have legal and physical custody of their child. One parent may house the child more than the other, but both have a say in the child's life and probably have frequent access to their child.
- Sole custody. If the court determines that one parent is "unfit" to care for their child, they may award the other parent sole custody. The child only lives with the parent who has sole custody. The other parent may not have legal or physical custody rights, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Most courts default to joint custody under the assumption it's generally beneficial for a child to consistently see both their parents.
Your parenting plan will determine how you share custody with your co-parent. This can include what days of the week or month each parent has custody, where you meet to exchange custody, and how you plan to handle holidays.
If the parents agree on terms for their custody arrangement, they can draft a custody agreement together which the court can then approve and finalize.
If the parents disagree, they may need to attend a hearing. After hearing from both parties, the court will determine what an equitable custody arrangement would look like and draft a custody order containing those terms.
At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, we know how important your child is to you. We'll fight tirelessly for your parental rights and your child's best interests in your custody dispute.
Is New York a 50/50 Custody State?
New York courts do not automatically award 50/50 custody. In order to determine legal and physical custody of the child, the court will weigh numerous factors and ultimately decide on the type of custody arrangement that is best for the child.
What Is an Unfit Parent in NY?
In New York, a parent may be deemed “unfit” if he or she has:
- An extensive criminal record;
- A history of drug or alcohol addiction or abuse;
- Any instances of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse towards the child.
When Can I Modify Child Custody?
Change is a fact of life. When circumstances change, your child custody plan may need to be modified to reflect those changes. Our child custody and visitation lawyers in Queens can help you modify your parenting plan to match the reality of your life. Our divorce attorneys handle custody modifications related to parental relocation, a change in the needs of the child, paternity matters, and other issues.
Creating a Parenting Plan That Fits Your Life
Strong orders of custody and visitation should be enforceable whether you are awarded primary custody or visitation. This means that you and your child's other parent should be able to uphold the custody plan without extreme difficulty. At our law firm, we take the time to understand your day-to-day life—including your work schedule, family dynamics, and other commitments—so we can craft a parenting plan that makes sense for you. We can save you money in the future by getting your agreement correct now.
Call us today at (718) 215-0121 to arrange a meeting with one of our Queens attorneys. Se habla español. דוברים עברית. Мы говорим на русском.