Child Custody

Family Court Lawyer in Suffolk County, NY

Child Custody

When filing for a divorce, an unhappy child arises from an unhappy marriage. At Flowers Law Group, P.C.  our criminal lawyer in Suffolk County understands how custody is a huge, stressful undertaking, so our experienced attorneys can help. If you need a family lawyer, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation today. Whether you are considering a divorce, already have gone through one, or were interested in learning about child custody laws, below is information regarding custody in New York. 

Custody – Criminal Lawyer in Suffolk County

The courts grant a custody order when a child’s care must be determined by one or both parents or by another guardian. There are two kinds of custody: physical and legal.

  • Physical Custody

Or residential custody, states who is responsible for the supervision and care of the child. It also determines where the child will be living. As a general guideline, the child should spend equal amounts of time with each parent, unless egregious circumstances apply. Situations such as this are known as joint physical custody. Otherwise, the Judge will grant one parent physical custody, and the other will have visitation rights.

  • Legal Custody

The parent with legal custody is responsible for the eminent decisions in the child’s life, such as medical decisions and religious upbringing. It can be joint legal custody where both parents make decisions together, or one parent has sole legal custody.

Who Gets Custody

The mother and legal father generally request custody of the child. However, “extraordinary circumstances” may allow close relatives or friends to have custody if it is the best interest of the child.

Where to Start/Amend a Custody Order

In New York State, you have two options on how to start a child custody order:

The court must have jurisdiction, a legal authority, to hear the case. The requirements are:

    • The child has lived in New York for at least six months (or has lived in NY for his/her entire life if younger than six months).
    • NYS laws have already been determined for the child regarding the previous custody order.
    • The child is in NY after an unforeseen emergency in their home state.
  • Mediation – where a third party (mediator) helps bring the two parents closer together to a decision without the need for court.

How Custody is Determined

If both parents cannot come to a decision, there are several factors to consider. The main priority is the best interest of the child, which ranges from ideas such as:

  • The religious beliefs of the parents
  • Handling the child’s emotion
  • The mental capacity of the parents
  • Drug, alcohol, or sexual abuse from the parents

There is no set age as to when the courts consider a child’s reasonable preference. Rather, they reason with how intelligent and mature he/she is. 

Changing Custody/Visitation

Once child custody is determined, it is not permanent. Both parents have the right to change their custody or visitation agreements. Additionally, they also have the right to an attorney. 

If you are considering, requesting changes, or have a general question about child custody, contact us to request a consultation with Flowers Law Group, P.C. today.