Child Custody is a significant issue for most Long Island couples during divorce proceedings. For a family that is used to living together under one roof, it is of course difficult for either parent to imagine living separate and apart from their children. While this is an unfortunate outcome of most divorces, there are a variety of arrangements available to you and your ex-spouse in order to make the transition as easy as possible for you, your spouse and your children.
How Do I Get Custody of My Children on Long Island?
If you are looking to apply for Child Custody on Long Island, you must be sure all jurisdictional requirements are met first. Before a New York court can hear your child custody petition, the child must have resided in the state for the past six months. Of course, this residency requirement is not an issue if your child has lived in New York for his or her entire life. If, on the other hand, you have just moved to New York with your child, you will have to either wait six months to file for custody in New York, or file in the state where the child resided for the previous six months.
What Factors Do the Courts Use to Determine Child Custody on Long Island?
Most people erroneously assume that the mother will be granted full legal custody in Child Custody cases. However, there is no such presumption in New York, and that means that either parent can be granted custody.
New York courts follow what is known as the “best interests of the child” standard. Under this standard, the court will consider the child’s relationship with each parent, the parent’s relative age and health, the child’s relationships with other members of the parent’s family, and if the child would be separated from his or her siblings, among other items. Each child custody situation is different, and there are no black and white guidelines. Therefore, it is important to discuss the specifics of your case with your Long Island divorce attorney.
What are the Different Types of Child Custody Arrangements?
It is important to differentiate between Legal and Physical Custody. Legal Custody concerns the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, while Physical Custody simply refers to where the child will live.
Sole Legal Custody. In a Sole Legal Custody arrangement one parent has the right to make all major decisions for the child. This includes decisions about education, healthcare and religious instruction, amongst other things. This arrangement permits only one parent to have custody of the child. The non-custodial parent will either have very limited or no visitation rights.
Joint Legal Custody: If you and your ex-spouse can communicate amicably with regards to the best interests of your children, you may wish to opt for a Joint Legal Custody arrangement. Under such terms, both parents act as a unit in deciding the above mentioned “major decisions” for each child. However, if both parents cannot reach an agreement, the action cannot be taken. Therefore, it is extremely important to be sure that you and your ex-spouse are honest with each other and understand the type of relationship that permits for open and honest communication about your children. Because each parent will at one point have physical custody of the child, the daily, routine decisions of the child’s life are made by the parent who has physical custody of the child at that time.
Sole Physical Custody. In a sole Physical Custody arrangement, one parent is declared the “custodial parent” and the child resides primarily with him or her. The other parent, having been declared the non-custodial parent, will retain visitation rights with the child. While the non-custodial parent and child may miss each other, this type of arrangement fosters a feeling of stability in the child as he or she will generally continuously reside in the same house in the same neighborhood and school district with his or her friends.
Joint Physical Custody: In a Joint Physical Custody arrangement, both parents are awarded physical custody of the children. Such an arrangement may be satisfied by having the child live with his or her mother for one month or week and then reside with the father for that same period of time. While this type of arrangement may be most appealing to the parents, you must consider how the constant back and forth movement may affect the child’s well-being and feelings of “home.”
Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?
To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.
Need Help with Your Child Custody Agreement on Long Island? Contact Us
Custody of your children, both legal and physical, is a sensitive matter in any divorce. Before discussing the issue with your Long Island divorce attorney, you should attempt to reach an agreement with your partner so you have an idea of which arrangement may work best for you. The compassionate and experienced attorneys at Robert E. Hornberger, Esq. are happy to advise you on the most appropriate Child Custody arrangement for your unique situation. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 to schedule a free consultation where we’ll be happy to discuss the specifics of your case.