Child custody actions are the most sensitive cases heard in Family Court. Even the simplest ones can turn to hotly contested actions at the drop a dime. Your best defense for fighting a custody battle is knowledge. Keep reading to check out Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.’s Essential Guide for Child Custody Cases.
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
The first step in any child custody case is to determine which type of custody you want to obtain. In New York, there are two forms of custody: physical, and legal.
We’ve written about the forms of custody in length in the past, but they can be broken down pretty easily. Legal custody refers to decision making rights, such as which school a child will attend. Alternatively, physical custody refers to which parent the child will live with. It is important to note that the parent who is not awarded physical custody will have visitation rights.
Now, this is where the process can get a little murky: do you want sole custody, or are you willing to share with your ex? You both may want something different, and it can be easy to rush to request sole custody in a vain attempt to hurt your ex. Think with your head, and not with your heart, during custody actions. Remember: custody is determined in your child’s best interest, regardless of whether or not the arrangement is ideal to you.
Determining a Child’s Best Interest
As mentioned, custody is determined in your child’s best interest, and a judge will take many different factors into consideration before issuing their ruling. Common factors include:
- The age and mental/physical health of you and your spouse, as well as your child
- Lifestyles of both parents, and whether they are conducive to raising a child
- The ability of either parent to provide the child with food, shelter, medical care, etc.
- The parent-child bond
- Any history of child or spousal abuse from either party
- The status quo
Exactly which factors the judge will consider varies per case. With keeping this in mind, it is always a good idea to consult with experienced family law attorney before starting a child custody case.
Your Child’s Attorney
It is important to remember that child custody actions involve the whole family, not just parents. Due of this, children are appointed an attorney, known as a law guardian, to advocate on their behalf.
Law guardians play a critical role in child custody actions by giving a voice to the voiceless in court. They work guarantee that your child’s best interests are being taken into consideration, and they will testify to this in court.
Learning more about how your child’s attorney will impact your custody matter is beneficial to your case. Check out our blog to learn more about law guardians in New York child custody cases.
Preparing for your Case
Every custody case is difference, hence it is difficult to know exactly how to prepare. Keeping this in mind, there are some steps you can take to make sure your child custody case gets started off on the right foot:
- Have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about your desires and your child’s best interest
- Research ways to tell your children about divorce
- Get copies of Domestic Incident Reports if you are requesting an Order of Protection
- Write down a desired custody arrangement, or parenting and visitation schedule
- Review your finances to get a better understanding of a possible child support obligation
- Download a custody app, and keep a custody journal
Hiring a Child Custody Attorney
As a matter of fact, hiring an attorney is the most important thing you can do to prepare for your child custody case. Family court cases are emotional ones, and as a result, it can be easy to let your emotions get the best of you during these tough times. A lawyer can help keep you on track, and will provide you with expert insight and guidance.
For more information on child custody actions in New York City, contact the family law firm of Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. at 718-875-7584 today!