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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.

What Is Child Custody & How Does It Work?

When you get divorced on Long Island, New York, you and your spouse will be faced with many decisions. One of those decisions will be what type of child custody arrangement you will enter into. While there are many types, the two most common are Joint Legal Custody and Joint Residential Custody, and both of these raise concerns when dealing with the child’s education.

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.

What is 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.

What is 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.

What is 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.

What is 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.”

What is Joint Residential Custody?

Joint Residential Custody simply allows both parents to have physical custody of the children on an equal basis.

Actions Now Can Affect Your Child Custody in Nassau County & Suffolk County Courts

Father's Rights in Child Custody on Long Island NYAs Divorce Attorneys practicing on Long Island, we see many critical mistakes that occur at the beginning or before a divorce case is even filed that put many parents at a disadvantage when it comes to their ability to have Child Custody with their children when the divorce is finalized.

Long Island Child Custody Mistake #1

One of the biggest and most common mistakes a parent living in Nassau County or Suffolk County can make is to move out of the marital/joint residence and leave your child with the other spouse. This essentially gives away custody to the residential parent. If want to retain custody of your child or children, you cannot move out of the home without your child, period. No matter how bad the situation is with your partner, in the Nassau County or Suffolk County court system, if you leave without the child, you essentially give up Child Custody.

Long Island Child Custody Mistake #2

If you do decide that you must move out of the joint residence with the children, make sure you get your spouse’s consent to do so. This does not necessarily have to be a formal written agreement; you can simply ask your spouse in an email to respond to your request to move out with the children. If your spouse consents via a reply email, it amounts to a virtual statement by your spouse that you are the child’s or children’s primary caregiver.

Long Island Child Custody Mistake #3

Conversely, if you are the parent remaining in the marital home and you give permission to your spouse to leave with the children, you are telling the Nassau County and Suffolk County courts that your spouse is the child or children’s primary caregiver.

Protect Your Child Custody Rights Now

As experienced divorce attorneys practicing on Long Island, we recognize that preventing your spouse from moving out of the marital home with the children is more difficult to control than staying in your residence, however, there are steps you can take to protect your Child Custody rights. First, as soon as it is clear that you and your spouse are getting divorced, make it absolutely clear to your spouse that it’s not okay with you for them to take the children. This too can be done through texts and emails. Make it clear that your spouse is free to leave the marital home, but your children must remain until your divorce and child custody case is fully resolved.

File for Divorce Early in Nassau or Suffolk County Court to Protect Yourself

As soon as you realize that your marriage is ending, it is a good idea to file for a divorce. The filing of a divorce petition, protects your Child Custody rights, should your spouse attempt to move out of the joint residence and take the children without your consent. With a pending divorce case, you will have the right to seek emergency relief requesting that the children be returned to their home. Of course, in such a case, it is important to have a record that you do not consent to the other spouse removing the children from their home.

Child Custody Attorneys & Child Support Lawyers on Long Island

The Child Custody Attorneys and Child Support Lawyers at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. protect your rights and the rights of your children to ensure they reside in the household that is in their best interest, have appropriate visitation with the non-custodial parent and are financially supported to ensure they receive the best childhood possible.

Certainly one of the most emotionally charged aspects of your divorce concerns your child or children. Tragically, children all too often get caught in the cross-fire of divorcing parents, when what should be ultimately important to everyone concerned is the welfare of the child. The experienced attorneys at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. work tirelessly to mitigate the negative impact of your divorce on your children and ensure they receive the support they need to grow up to be healthy, productive adults.

Child Custody Attorneys & Child Support Lawyers on Long Island, NY Protect You and Your Children


The child support lawyers and child custody attorneys at the law firm of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C., Attorneys and Counselors at Law in Melville, NY regularly and successfully represents Long Islanders like you in Nassau County, NY and Suffolk County, NY family courts for issues regarding:

  • Child Custody
  • Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Orders of Protection
  • Neglect

Child Custody Lawyers, Child Support Attorneys & Child Visitation

The Child Custody Attorneys and Child Support Lawyers at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. are uniquely dedicated to protecting your interests and ensuring that the best interests your child are foremost in any Child Custody, Child Support or Visitation, case.  To mitigate the stress on your child we usually try to peacefully negotiate or mediate a settlement with your former spouse. However, when the situation warrants it, our Child Support Attorneys and Child Custody Lawyers will aggressively litigate in the best interests of you and your child or children. Our successful track record in court has helped many children receive the care and support they deserve.

To protect yourself and the rights and welfare of your children with regard to Child Custody, Child Support or Visitation, you need experienced legal representation by Child Support attorneys who understand the Child Support Standards Act. Child Custody attorneys and Child Support Lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. regularly represent Long Islanders like you in Nassau County, Suffolk County and the surrounding areas to fight for your rights and the rights of your children in Child Custody, Child Support and Visitation cases.

If you are considering making an application for child support, or if you have received a summons or a letter from a child support attorney or child custody lawyer regarding child support or custody, contact the family law offices of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. and one of our experienced attorneys will advise you on how to best protect your legal rights and the rights of your children.


What You Need to Know About Orders of Protection & Neglect

If you or your children are in danger of being hurt, either through neglect or abuse, first protect yourself and your children by calling the police. Then contact the Family Law office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. in Melville, NY immediately and we will take action to protect you and your children. We can help you obtain an Order of Protection or otherwise take action to protect your rights and safety. If you are considering applying for an order of protection, or if you have received a summons to appear in court to defend yourself against an application for an order of protection, contact us today to speak with a child custody lawyer familiar with the laws and courts of Long Island, NY.

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Robert Hornberger and Christine Verbitsky

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Jenny Allen
Jenny Allen
13:26 18 Jun 22
Mr. Hornberger was so helpful to me in a recent consultation. He gave me his time generously, listened patiently, offered clear counsel, and said I didn't actually need further legal services in a particular matter, which I really appreciated.
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Jenny Allen
Jenny Allen
13:26 18 Jun 22
Mr. Hornberger was so helpful to me in a recent consultation. He gave me his time generously, listened patiently,... offered clear counsel, and said I didn't actually need further legal services in a particular matter, which I really more
Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin
21:06 25 Jan 22
The team at Hornberger Verbitsky made me feel at ease after I retained them after a 3 year contested divorce process. I... like their approach with how they educate you on ways to get the best outcome in your divorce. Mr. Hornberger made me feel heard and was compassionate to my case while also being aggressive in the courtroom to help me get the most positive outcome. He prevented my case from having to go to trial and he closed the deal in my long drawn out emotional divorce. I was happy that I retained him and would recommend him to anyone that is going through a high conflict more
rrezarta lekaj
rrezarta lekaj
20:47 24 Nov 21
Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made... such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best more
Janine Martello D'onofrio
Janine Martello D'onofrio
21:00 02 Oct 21
Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in... different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !read more
Tara Tocci
Tara Tocci
20:59 17 Sep 21
I called to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss a mediated divorce, the office was fantastic with getting... me a prompt appointment. When going in all my questions were asked and I left feeling comfortable in my decision to move forward in using the Hornberger/Verbitsky office. Despite a pandemic going on the office still worked diligently to get my papers filed and my divorce complete in a timely manner. Highly recommend!read more
cristina romero
cristina romero
20:17 17 Sep 21
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C were phenomenal in every way. Robert was very genuine, patient and professional. Walking in,... I had no idea what to expect but he went above and beyond to explain the entire process thoroughly. He guided and informed me of my rights. Patty was amazing, she answered every question I had no matter how many times I called, she was very understanding. I highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Even if its just for questions on how to navigate this more
16:57 17 Sep 21
Rob and his team are by far one of the greatest! Patty is amazing and will make sure all of your questions are... addressed and responded to. Rob and his team made a very tough time in my life as simple as possible. Rob is extremely knowledgeable and very empathetic. Patty was a pleasure to work with and I would recommend this firm to anyone that needs a great divorce attorney. Thank you for all of your help!read more
Angela Thearle
Angela Thearle
00:21 07 Aug 21
Hornberger law was the best choice I made when I needed to go to family court with my ex for custody of my children.... They were there at any time when I neeeded them. Going through a custody battle can be a huge emotional rollercoaster and very painful. They helped me through it and made it less painful and heartbreaking. And I got the outcome plus more than I expectedread more
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular... more
LilMissPerfct Dessie
LilMissPerfct Dessie
06:46 11 Feb 21
I am a graduate of Norland English nanny college. I thank God every day that Mr. Robert Hornberger protected my clients... in the legal ways i could not. Children are a blessing not a blender to be fought over during some silly spat!read more
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with... Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first more
A Google User
A Google User
15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to... achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his more
Ann Masten
Ann Masten
17:48 12 May 20
I am a paralegal in an unrelated field of law. I phoned Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today intending to refer a client... to their office. Instead (and despite that we are the midst of the present crisis), Mr. Hornberger himself graciously accommodated my questions over the telephone, and was generous with his time and adroit in his response, saving our client a small fortune in unnecessary legal fees. I have not had any similar experience, in which counsel was so generous with his expertise, in 22+ years of interacting with prominent, local attorneys, and the client is overjoyed. Based on this experience, I would now whole -heartedly recommend this firm as trusted professionals to any client requiring a firm expert in family law and related legal more
Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when... you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free more
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working... with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if more
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my... consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!read more
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly
Ashley Hubner
Ashley Hubner
20:30 14 Feb 20
Navigating my divorce was a challenging experience to say the least, but I was supported and guided every step of the... way by my attorney, Robert. With the daunting task of hiring a divorce lawyer, I knew I would need someone with the right combination of knowledge, compassion and integrity. Robert has a strong background in family law, sincere character and direct communication to be superior to the others. He and his staff were professional and caring. I always felt I was in good hands. I highly recommend the Law Offices Hornberger and Verbitsky for the legal expertise, compassion and understanding of the many complex facets associated with more
Thomas Livingston
Thomas Livingston
21:31 26 Jan 20
Robert and Christine are the epitome of professionalism. They helped us with the purchase of our new home. They were... efficient, dedicated, and focused on making our closing as seamless as more
Sheila Vasata
Sheila Vasata
23:35 14 Jan 20
Robert Hornberger has been a friend of mine and my family for years. He has helped us all in ways that are too... numerable to mention. I went through a divorce that I don’t think I could’ve done if I didn’t have Robert by my side. He is vivacious, motivated, knowledgeable, and has an extreme desire to succeed and excel...and he does! He goes over and above for all of his clientele. I would recommend his law firm to anybody who is looking for a Great Lawyer with integrity!read more
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