Astoria Divorce Lawyer

Child Custody Lawyers

Queens, Nassau, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Suffolk & Westchester.

Child Custody Lawyers Queens and Nassau

There are two types of custody in New York: Legal Custody and Physical Custody.  Legal Custody concerns making decisions for the child, such as schooling, religious upbringing, and other day to day issues that concern raising the child.  Physical Custody concerns where the child primarily resides. 

The custodial parent is the parent who has primary Physical Custody of the child  Upon making a request to the court for Child Support, the non-custodial parent will be required to pay monthly Child Support payments to the custodial parent.  It should be noted that until a request for child support is made, the non-custodial parent is not under a legal obligation to make child support payments.  Therefore, a Child Support Petition should be filed as soon as possible. 

In many cases, the parents are not able to agree to which parent gets Legal Custody and Physical Custody.  A Child Custody battle will ensue in court where the Judge will decide who gets custody.  Child Custody is determined based on the best interest of the child standard.  Many cases interpret this standard to the parent who is best able to meet the needs of the child.  This is a fact specific inquiry that requires the court to consider specific facts in the case to determine custody.  For example, if a child is 7 years old, elementary school will be an important consideration to the court.  The court will place great weight (importance) on the parent who is best able to put the child on a good routine, sticking to a bedtime schedule, waking up early for school, preparing the child for tests and assisting with school work, and involved with school.  If a child is special needs, even more emphasis will be placed on these factor.  The court will look at the choice of school of each parent, this means that school zoning should be carefully considered if public schooling is being considered.  

The court will need to be comfortable with the parent and ensure that the parent is mature and responsible to meet the child’s needs.  Behaving professional in court is a must!  This means avoiding outbursts, dressing professionally, and preparing for hearings with your attorney.  

We serve clients throughout Queens and Nassau.  Areas in Queens, to include, Astoria, Long Island City, Ditmars, Woodside, Middle Village, Flushing, Bayside, Rego Park, Jackson Heights, Corona, Jamaica, Elmhurst, Kew Gardens, Whitestone, Bayside, College Point, Bay Terrace, Great Neck, Kings Point, Port Washington, and all areas of Queens.

Areas in Nassau include, Freeport, Merrick, Baldwin, Oceanside, Valley Stream, Bohemia, Hauppauge, Amityville, Hicksville, East Meadow, Uniondale, Rockville Centre, and Manhasset.

How is Child Custody Awarded By the Court?

Child Custody Lawyer Queens
Child Support is Awarded Based on the "Best Interest of the Child" After a Hearing.

If the parents are unable to agree on custody — a custody battle will ensure — and the Judge will award custody after a hearing is performed.  The hearing is very similar to a trial where both sides will present evidence, witnesses, and testimony to prove that if will be in the child’s best interest to award custody to them.  It is critical to have experienced trial counsel to prevail in a custody battle.  A sound understanding of the rules of evidence and trial strategy is essential to put on a proper case. 

When making custody determinations courts look at a variety of factors, such as:

  • The Primary Caretaker.  In many cases, custody will be awarded to the parent who primarily cared for the child before the divorce action was commenced.  This is especially true with breastfeeding and very young children that are not accustomed to the father.  Abrupt custody with the father, could cause emotional harm to the children in these situations. 
  • The Stability of the Parent.  The stability of each parent will be examined by the court.  When presenting a custody case, the attorney should place emphasis on a stable home environment, steady job, good routines, healthy lifestyle, and other positive attributes. 
  • Drugs, Alcohol and Unhealthy Lifestyle. n Evidence of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as drug and alcohol abuse can be detrimental to a parent in a custody case.  The court will weigh this factor heavily and likely deny physical custody to a spouse that has makes poor lifestyle choices. 
  • Mental & Emotional Health. Mental health issues and emotional problems can be detrimental to the upbringing of a child.  If a parent has severe mental illness, this could be problematic for obtaining custody. 
  • Physical health. Physical health issues can greatly impair a parent’s ability to care for a child.  Proof of severe physical illness can be detrimental to a parent.
  • Physical Abuse. Evidence of physical abuse including spousal abuse or child abuse will weigh heavily in a custody battle.   
  • Neglect, Abuse, Abandonment and Interference with visitation rights. Evidence that a parent has neglected, abused, or abandoned a child will weigh heavily in a custody battle.  For this reason, indicted cases with ACS can be very problematic in custody cases.  In addition, evidence that a parent is interfering with visitation (called “alienation”) will be taken seriously.  This includes, bad mouthing a parent to a child, monitoring phone calls, or preventing phone calls. In extreme situations, a parent will instruct a child to hate a parent and say hurtful things to a parent.  Evidence of this in court can be absolutely detrimental to an offending parent. 
  • The Child’s preference for a Parent.   The child’s preference to live with a particular parent may be afforded great weight by the court, especially if the child is older.  The child will be appointed an attorney.  If the child desires so, the child’s attorney will state the child’s preferences at the hearing.  The court should examine the reasons why the child has a chosen preference.  If the child desires to live with a parent because that parent does not enforce rules, the court may not give weight to the child’s preference. 
  • Th Finances of each Parent. A court may consider which parent is able to best provide financially for a child; however, this factor is not afforded great weight.  
  • The Environment at Home. Evidence of a dangerous home environment will weigh greatly against custody.  This can include a parent with a violent boyfriend that poses a risk the physical and emotional well being of the child.
  • Education.   Courts often consider each parent’s choice of schooling.  If a particularly school highly outranks another, the court will likely take this into consideration.
  • The Location of Siblings.  In many cases, courts prefer to keep siblings together, especially if a close bond is demonstrated at trial.  
  • The Court’s observations of the parents.  In almost all cases, courts consider the behavior of the parents to help determine their level of responsibility and maturity.  It is imperative to remain professional at all times in court and to provide the utmost of respect to the Judge. 

How is Visitation Decided?

queens family lawyer
The Non-Custodial Parent is Afforded Generous Visitation Rights.

Courts typically give the non-custodial parent generous visitation rights because contact with both parents is viewed as beneficial to the child, unless parental misconduct is an issue.  In cases that involve abuse, neglect or other mistreatment of a child — supervised visitation may be required.  

Contact Queens & Nassau Family Lawyers to learn more about Child Visitation.

The holidays should be a time when parents enjoy celebrating with their children.  Unfortunately, some parents use the holidays as a time to weaponize their children.  

This can occur when an ex-spouse invites a new partner to spend time with children during the holidays.  An emotionally charged spouse may attempt to interfere with visitation by refusing to drop off the child at the appropriate time.  This can result in plane trips being missed and other vacation disasters.  

In order to avoid holiday mishaps, a visitation schedule should be agreed to that makes clear which days and times the child is spend holidays.  In the event a parent intentionally violates a clearly drafted visitation schedule — severe sanctions may be imposed by the court. 

How is Holiday Visitation Decided?

Child Visitation During the Holiday Can Be Problematic Without a Clear Visitation Schedule.

Courts can impose severe sanctions in the event a parent intentionally violates a visitation schedule, this can include the loss of visitation privileges, a change of custody, and other sanctions.  

What Happens if Parent Violates the Visitation Schedule?

failure to pay child support penalty
Courts Can Impose Severe Sanctions For Violating a Visitation Schedule.

We Look Forward to Working With You on Your Child Custody Case in Queens & Nassau

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We Look Forward to Working With You on Your Child Custody case in Queens & Nassau New York.

Solomos & Storms, PLLC is dedicated to providing clients with first in class legal services at affordable prices.  

Contact Queens & Nassau Family Lawyers for assistance with child custody matters.

Call us today for a FREE Consultation. We are happy to assist you in your Child Custody Case.

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    33-08 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106 

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