Child Custody

Ten Commandments For Parents In Custody Cases

Last updated on September 18, 2023

Custody and Visitation cases have very emotional components involving your former partner. Even though you are no longer in an existing day-to-day relationship with that person doesn’t mean you won’t have to interact with one another. Your relationship is now very different and those feelings are not exclusive to you. Studies have shown that children share the impact of separated families.

Before you make any decisions, it is important to contemplate the finer details about child custody such as the advantages and disadvantages of joint custody. At New York Family Law Group, our compassionate New York child custody lawyers are dedicated to advocating for you and your child’s well-being. We will work diligently to protect your parental rights and achieve a favorable outcome in your child custody matter. Contact us today at (347) 212-5113 to schedule your free consultation.

The following are the “ten commandments” that have been adapted from a long-time colleague, Sam Doulberg, to help you understand a child’s perspective, what behaviors they do and don’t want to participate in during a court proceeding, and what you can do to minimize that impact in your case.

  1. Put your child’s needs in the center of your thinking in all aspects of the proceeding.
  2. Always respect the other parent when talking to your child. Never insult, disrespect or put down the other parent to your child or have other family members engage in this behavior Your child will resent this behavior.
  3. If you are the primary caretaker, be generous in allowing the other parent or grandparent to spend time with your child. Your child will appreciate this behavior.
  4. Never do things like recording conversations, posting to social media, or “live stream” with your children in order to enhance your legal position. This is likely to make things worse and this behavior stresses your child.
  5. Never ask your child about what goes on in the other parent’s home. Children know when they are being used as “spies” and do not like it.
  6. Never tell your child what they should tell their lawyer, known as the Attorney for the Child (AFC), A good AFC will see through this.
  7. Never ask your child what they told their attorney. Like you, they should be able to have a confidential relationship with their attorney.
  8. Consult with your attorney before speaking with ACS, Probation, a Forensic Examiner, a Psychologist, or the Attorney for your child. Do not try to manipulate the result by calling ACS with frivolous allegations.
  9. Compromise! Two parents in a custody dispute never get everything they want. A mediated or negotiated resolution will usually be better for everyone rather than traditional litigation.
  10. Remember-There is life after a custody dispute. You are your child’s parent for life.
Ten Commandments For Parents In Custody Cases Description
Prioritize your child’s needs throughout the case. Always consider your child’s well-being as the top priority during the custody proceedings.
Respect the other parent; avoid negative comments. Maintain respectful communication with the other parent, refraining from insulting or demeaning remarks that could harm your child’s relationship with them.
Encourage the other parent’s involvement if you’re the primary caretaker. Foster a positive relationship between your child and the other parent or grandparents, even if you have primary custody.
Avoid using recordings or social media against the other parent. Refrain from recording conversations or using social media to gain an advantage in the case, as this can harm your child and complicate matters.
Don’t make your child a spy for information about the other parent. Avoid putting your child in the position of gathering information about the other parent’s home.
Allow your child’s attorney to work independently. Avoid instructing your child on what to tell their attorney, respecting the attorney’s ability to gather relevant information.
Respect your child’s confidentiality with their attorney. Refrain from asking your child about the details of their conversations with their attorney, allowing for a confidential relationship.
Consult your attorney before engaging with professionals. Seek guidance from your attorney before speaking with ACS, Probation, Forensic Examiners, Psychologists, or the Attorney for your child to avoid frivolous claims or manipulation.
Compromise for a mediated or negotiated resolution. Understand that compromises are necessary; opt for mediation or negotiation for a better outcome than traditional litigation.
Remember: Life continues after the custody dispute. Focus on being a loving and supportive parent beyond the legal proceedings.

What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases?

In New York, the principal determining factor for awarding physical custody to a parent under the law is the child’s best interests. The child’s welfare also takes precedence when the court is deliberating whether a situation calls for awarding sole custody.

The custody laws in New York stipulate specific factors that define the child’s best interests. These laws were established after numerous cases contributed new considerations for custody for the court. The court will weigh the following aspects in relation to the child’s welfare. These include:

  • Each parent’s mental and physical health and stability.
  • The presence of siblings, as courts tend to maintain sibling bonds in most cases.
  • The occurrence of domestic violence within the family.
  • The existence of alcohol or drug problems with either parent.
  • The presence of a pre-existing custody order or informal custody agreement.
  • The length of time the child has lived with each parent.
  • The quality of each parent’s home environment.
  • The child’s primary residence.
  • The ability of each parent to provide food, shelter, medical care, and education.
  • The competence of a parent to support the child’s intellectual and emotional growth.
  • The capability of a parent to cater to the child’s special needs, if any.
  • The capacity of a parent to nurture the child’s religious beliefs and upbringing.
  • The existence of a strong emotional tie between the child and a parent.
  • The willingness of one parent to facilitate a positive relationship with the other parent.
  • The occurrence of parental alienation, where one parent influences the child against the other parent.
  • The living preferences of an older child, which may not determine custody but could be considered by the court.
  • The work schedules of the parents.
  • The lack of domestic partners in each parent’s home.
  • The superiority of one parent’s parenting skills.

Navigating child custody cases can be complex and emotionally challenging. It’s highly recommended to seek the guidance of a New York child custody lawyer who has experience in child custody matters. Consulting with New York Family Law Group, who can provide valuable advice and support, can help you understand your rights and obligations and assist you in building a strong case that reflects your child’s best interests.

Manhattan child custody lawyer

Other Helpful Practices in Custody and Visitation Cases

In addition to the “Ten Commandments”, getting additional help for your children can also be beneficial in managing the emotional toll of custody cases. A family counselor can help your child express their feelings and thoughts through talk therapy, play therapy, and other methods. Your children can talk to a therapist in a safe environment to express their emotions and conflicting feelings. They can also work out the best way to communicate what they want to say.

Ultimately, the main goal is to get through the divorce process and find a new path to happiness. If you can find a way for you and your ex to communicate civilly and productively with one another, you will be happier in the end. Your ex will always be part of your and your child’s life, whether you like it or not. It is better for all parties – for you, your ex-partner, and your children – to learn how to effectively communicate. If you think communication cannot be easily established between you and your ex, seeking the assistance of a family counselor or an experienced mediator can help. 

In a custody dispute, it is important to keep in mind that the highest priority should be to have the least amount of disruptions in your child’s life. Working actively with your ex can help in ensuring that your child can move past the difficulties of the divorce process as easily as possible.

Getting the Legal Help of an Experienced New York Child Custody Lawyer

While custody battles can be emotionally draining and legally intricate, seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable New York child custody attorney can greatly alleviate the burden. A skilled attorney possesses the experience to navigate the intricacies of the legal system and advocate for their client’s rights and the well-being of the child.

At New York Family Law Group, our team of  New York child custody attorneys may be able to provide invaluable guidance throughout the custody process, ensuring that parents are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities. We may be able to help in crafting persuasive legal arguments, gathering relevant evidence, and presenting a compelling case to the court. 

By enlisting the services of a trusted attorney, you can enhance your chances of securing a favorable outcome while minimizing stress and confusion during this challenging time. Contact us today at (347) 212-5113 to schedule a consultation.



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