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Child Custody in New York

Child custody refers to the legal responsibility for a child’s care and upbringing.  Because there is nothing more important than the welfare and happiness of your child(ren), it is important to understand child custody in New York and how New York courts make decisions related to parenting, including legal custody, physical custody, visitation, and parenting time arrangements.  The attorneys at Donnellan Law, PLLC are prepared to explain the nuances of child custody in New York and create a unique “legal roadmap” to help you reach your child custody goals.

There are two types of child custody in New York, legal custody and physical custody.  Legal custody refers to the parent or adult who has the right to make decisions about a child(ren)’s medical and mental health care, religious upbringing, and other major decisions.  If a Judge orders joint legal custody, both parents make important decisions about the child(ren) together, regardless of where the child(ren) live.  When a Judge orders sole legal custody, only one parent or adult has the right to make major decisions.

Physical custody, also known as residential custody, refers to the parent or adult who is responsible for the physical care and supervision of the child(ren).  Simply put, physical custody has to do with where the child(ren) resides.  If a Judge orders physical custody, the child(ren) will live with each parent for equal or near equal amounts of time.  When the Judge orders sole physical custody, the child(ren) lives with one parent or adult for the majority of the time.  If it is safe for the child(ren), the noncustodial parent may be granted visitation, also known as parenting time.  The court will order visitation only if it is in the best interest of the child(ren).

Determining the Best Parenting Arrangement for Your Child(ren)

No matter what your reasons for being involved in a custody dispute, you want to protect your child(ren) from as much emotional upheaval as you can. Many couples attempt and successfully achieve a co-parenting arrangement based on a mutual concern for the well-being of their child(ren). This is your ideal goal. This amicable arrangement puts a focus on your child(ren)’s needs and includes a collaborative approach to parenting.

Your parenting plan may include guidelines for parenting time. This refers to the arrangement allowing the parent who does not have primary physical custody to spend meaningful time with the child(ren). In almost all custody and divorce cases in New York involving children, the parent who does not have physical custody of the children will be given parenting time. If there is a history of child abuse or neglect, supervised parenting time can be requested.  In rare cases, a court may grant “no parenting time.”

The attorneys at Donnellan Law, PLLC will guide you through the custody process.  We understand that the health and happiness of your child(ren) is your primary concern, and we will work with you to address any fears and anxieties that you may have about your child(ren)’s wellbeing.  Our attorneys will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the best possible child custody arrangements for you and your child(ren).

Contact Us

If you have questions about child custody or you need representation, call our office today at 518-602-3820 or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation.