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When Joint Child Custody Isn’t Working After NY Divorce

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Child Custody and Support NY

Having joint child custody after a New York divorce can be a difficult situation for everyone to involved. Of course it’s a new and difficult situation and it takes everyone time to get used to, but, if after an appropriate period, things just are not working out you may see to make a change to your agreement. You are likely unsure of what to do next or even what options are available to you. Here’s what to know and how to get the support you need when you incur more problems with joint custody than it was intended to solve.

Look for the Key Joint Custody Issue

If you don’t seem to be getting around the initial learning curve with your child’s joint custody arrangements, the first step is to figure out the key issue. There may even be multiple issues that are causing unreasonable strain on your family. For example, if you’re constantly having problems with getting your child to and from your ex’s house on time, this could indicate a location or transportation issue.

Or, perhaps the problem is you suspect your ex has become involved with drug use after the divorce and you’re concerned your child may be in danger when in your ex’s custody. Write down a list of deal breakers, as well as things you just think could be improved, so you can start looking for possible solutions and putting together the resources you need to pursue them.

If Logistics Are the Problem with Your Joint Custody

If the problem is mainly a logistical one, such as difficulty in transporting children between homes or too much travel time for the kids, reducing the distance between your home and your ex’s may be a solution. You or your ex might consider moving to be closer to the other parent, or you may agree to meet halfway for pickups and drop-offs depending on what works best for your job, family obligations, and finances.

If Your Ex Is Unfit to Parent Your Child

Is your ex incapable of adequately parenting your child or children. Should they have shared custody to begin with. It may be necessary to make alternative custody arrangements if your ex has a limited ability to provide adequate care for the children, has poor mental health stability and emotional maturity, or a history of domestic violence, neglect, or other criminal activity.

In this case, the first step is to begin documenting your ex’s behaviors and gathering evidence to build your case. Make sure your notes are detailed and include dates, times, places, and specific information about what happened. This will be important evidence for any future discussions or court proceedings regarding the modification of custody arrangements.

It can also be helpful to talk to others who could have witnessed concerning behavior from your spouse, particularly while caring for your child. This could include family members, friends, neighbors, teachers or coaches who interact with your child regularly and may have noticed patterns of neglect or abuse.

Get the Emotional & Legal Support You Need

During the process of establishing or modifying joint child custody agreements, it can be beneficial to seek out professional support from a counselor or therapist. A qualified practitioner can help you sort through difficult emotions and will provide you with stress management tools you can use to manage negative feelings that may arise.

You can also look for divorce and child custody support groups in the Long Island, NY area. These people have gone through similar experiences as yours with joint child custody agreements and can offer mutual support, camaraderie, and an outlet for venting frustrations.

Sometimes just talking about the situation with friends and family members can be therapeutic in itself. It’s a way of getting things off your chest without involving lawyers or counselors directly involved in the case. Just be sure the person offering a listening ear has the ability to make emotional space for you and is willing to do so.

Counseling and/or therapy can’t replace the legal support a qualified attorney is able to provide. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we can help you navigate issues regarding your joint custody agreement and find solutions that work best for your family. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation with our experienced New York divorce attorneys by dialing 631-923-1910or by filling in the short form on this page.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.
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