Child custody and visitation are often the most contentious issues that must be worked out between the divorcing spouses. It’s extremely important to make the right decision and provide the proper accommodations for your child’s welfare and overall well-being as they grow up.
New York Family Law Group is here to help you navigate this process and seek custody and visitation rights you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
There are two distinct forms of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make “major decisions” about the child’s life, such as healthcare, schooling, religion, and so on. New York courts typically presume that parents will share “joint legal custody” and make these decisions together. But in some cases, one parent may be given sole legal custody on a case-by-case basis.
Physical custody is separate from legal custody. It refers to the parent who has responsibility for their physical needs (food, shelter, etc), as well as the time each parent is entitled to spend with the child.
In joint physical custody, parents share equal time with the child. If the child lives with one parent more than 50% of the time, that parent is typically referred to as the “primary custodian,” or “physical custodian.” The other parent then has certain “parenting time” and “visitation” rights that will be set forth by the court.
Child custody is determined by the court, based on the “best interest” of the child. A lot of factors can be considered, like the child’s preferences, the income and stability of both parents, the safety and home environment each parent can provide, and other such details.
If both parents agree on certain custody terms and the court approves, custody can also be determined by this agreement. This is often a faster and simpler way to resolve the issue.
Yes. The typical requirement for modifying a custody order is showing a “substantial change in circumstances” for one parent or the child since the custody agreement was established. In addition, some custody orders can be modified without going back to court if the parties agree to the modification. A substantial change in circumstances is something one or both parent could not anticipate at the time the order was issued. There are many variables as to what would be considered a substantial change in circumstance, which is why it is important to speak with an attorney.
In general, you are not permitted to move away from New York if you have legal or physical custody of a child unless you have the full permission of the non-custodial parent, or obtain permission from the court to do so.
You also must have a good reason to relocate – typically, a “change of scenery” or even marrying a new spouse are not compelling reasons. In contrast, employment reasons or a medical reason for relocation may be more compelling causes for relocation.
To relocate, you must either obtain consent from the non-custodial parent, or file a petition and request a court hearing. In a court hearing, the court will consider your reasons for relocation and the best interest of the child.
The court will weigh the benefits and reasons for relocation against the child’s relationship with the parent, grandparents, other relatives, school, community, and other such relevant factors. The further away you plan to move, the more difficult it can be to win this case.
At New York Family Law Group, we have assembled a team of experienced child custody attorneys in New York. With the help of our team, you can protect your rights and the interests of your child. Contact us now to discuss your case and get the legal assistance you need.