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Can a Father Win Sole Child Custody on Long Island?

by | Dec 7, 2021 | Father's Rights, NY

Although it is normally preferred that parents split custody, there are several circumstances in which family courts may give sole custody to only one parent. Furthermore, judges are not allowed to express any bias toward either parent, so if you can demonstrate that you are the superior parent and/or your child is in danger when with their other parent, you may be able to acquire permanent full custody.

Nevertheless, if the child’s mother also intends to fight for sole custody, you need to prepare yourself for a difficult child custody dispute. Here’s what you should know about full custody for fathers on Long Island and how to get the help of an experienced family lawyer when you need it most.

Factors That Influence Child Custody Decisions

Long Island family courts consider multiple criteria when making a determination about child custody and/or visitation. Here are two primary issues that judges look at when deciding if a father will get sole custody or if custody will be shared between the two parents and, if so, to what extent.

The Child’s Relationship with Their Mother

A court will be hesitant to change a custody arrangement that appears to be effective and in the best interests of the child, particularly if the mother is the primary caregiver for the child. Generally, Long Island courts provide the child’s mother with extensive visiting rights in cases where fathers are awarded custody, since a connection with both parents is thought to be best for the child.

If the mother already has functional custody of the child, meaning that she essentially acts as the primary custodian, courts will usually award her with formal custody. In this case, it may be particularly challenging for a father to seek sole custody; the evidence that the current situation is causing harm to the child would need to be sufficient for the court to consider removing a child from the care of the primary custodian and placing the child with the other parent.

If the Child Is In Danger

Courts are more likely to consider changing custody arrangements or awarding a father full custody of a child if the child is in danger or is otherwise at risk of harm from the mother.

For instance, if the child’s mother suffers from a mental health condition or abuses alcohol or illicit drugs, the court will be much more likely to award sole custody of the child to the father. You should be able to show clear evidence that the situation has changed and that a total revision of custody and visitation is necessary.

What Fathers Need for Sole Custody

Before going to court, a father who desires full custodial rights should understand what to prepare for. The following considerations will be evaluated when deciding if one parent should be awarded primary custody and if so, which parent it should be.

Legal Paternity

A parent who wishes to win full custody of their child must first confirm the child’s legal paternity. A father can establish paternity by being present at the child’s birth and signing their birth certificate or by bringing proof of legal paternity, such as a lab test, to court.

A Good Relationship with Your Child

Before granting sole custody to one parent, a judge will consider the potential primary custodial parent’s connection and the quality of their relationship with the child. At the time of a child custody hearing, a father seeking full custody of his child or children should be ready to answer questions about his connection with each child.

This may include questions about how often you spend time with your child, what kinds of activities you do together, and other questions that can help paint a picture of the child’s relationship with their father for the court.

When to Contact an Experienced Long Island Custody and Visitation Lawyer

It’s important that you act quickly to secure experienced legal representation when pursuing sole custody of a child, especially if you are the father of the child and already at a potentially inherent disadvantage. Despite the fact that laws have been updated to reflect that fathers and mothers can equally care for a child, many people within the legal system are still biased against men in this regard.

Contact Long Island child custody lawyers Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to schedule your consultation by dialing 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.


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