Child Support and Custody
Brooklyn Family Lawyer
When determining child custody, New York State Courts employ “best interests of the child”. Note that custody cases are not viewed in terms of Mother vs. Father or vise versa. Custody cases are not against anyone and are designed to determine what is in the best interest of the couple’s child. No parent has a greater right over the other. Both parents are viewed as equals in the court of law. While you may think the main issues to be resolved are child support and who “has custody,” the issues can be much more nuanced and complicated.
There are actually two separate types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the ability of a parent to make decisions regarding a child, such as with respect to medical care, education, or religious upbringing. Physical custody determines which parent(s) the child actually resides with.
While it may have been assumed at one time that a child would mainly reside with the mother and spend weekends and vacations with the father, that is no longer the case. Fathers often want to share physical custody and have their children 50% of the time or more.
There are a huge variety of possible custody schedules. Those are dependent on the needs of each parent, as well as age and preferences of the child. Where will the child spend holidays, like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day?
Similarly, financial considerations are not limited to support. Who will be responsible for the payment of major medical expenses, day care, summer camp, and extra-curricular activities? Will one parent be solely responsible or will these expenses be shared? Who will be able to claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes?
Custody cases are often complicated and emotionally difficult to deal with. That is why, when you are selecting your future lawyer, make sure that he or she listens to your side of the story. They should fight for what is important for you. Seek counsel that will also be your therapist as it is often the case with matrimonial attorneys.