A child support case typically arises when parents cannot agree on who will raise their child or where the child will reside. In a child custody case a lot of issues are resolved. The first issue is who is granted physical and legal custody. In Brooklyn, decisions are made according to the domestic relations law code 240.
Physical Custody involves Where the Child Resides
When a judge grants physical custody to a parent, they decide where the child will live. If they grant sole custody, the child will only live with one parent. If the judge grants joint custody, the child will reside with both parents. The next step in the case is to determine how the child will reside with each parent. Typically, each parent receives 50 percent of the time.
Visitation and Sole Physical Custody in Brooklyn
A parent is not granted physical custody is known as the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent may receive visitation. Visitation is a specific amount of time with their parent. The child may spend time overnight with the non-custodial parent, but will not live with them on a part-time or full-time basis.
A non-custodial parent will typically have a visitation schedule. This is a pre-determined time they will spend with their child. Also, the visits may be supervised or unsupervised. The latter means that no third party is watching the parent and child interact.
Legal Child Custody involves the Decision-Making Process
Many parents are not aware they must fight for legal child custody. This is the right to make decisions about how the child is raised. If a judge grants sole custody, one parent makes all the decisions regarding school, religious practices and medical care. The other parent has no say so.
Joint legal custody is given to both parents. This means both parents must agree on school, religion and other factors related to raising a child.
How does the Brooklyn Family Court Decides Child Custody Cases?
The court must use the standard called what’s in the best interest of the child. This means the child’s needs are placed before what the parents want. A lot of factors go into determining what is in the child’s best interest. The judge must answer the questions regarding:
• Parent’s work schedules
• The weakness and strengths of each parent
• Each parent’s ability to raise their child
• Which parent can prove the most care and/or nurturing to their child
• Each parent’s mental and physical health
• The child’s preference (where they want to reside). The child typically is not involved in deciding legal custody.
• Any history of domestic violence involving each parent
Is Court the Only Way to Resolve a Child Custody Issue?
No. Parents can agree to mediate the child custody issues to find a solution without the aid of a judge. If an agreement is made, it must be approved by the judge. Once it is approved, it is an order made by the court.
Can Child Custody Orders be Modified in Brooklyn?
Yes. Child custody is typically ever changing. So, a parent can return to court to seek joint custody or a visitation modification. However, there is an exception. Once an order is made, a parent can only change it if the new circumstances changes what’s in the best interest of the child.
For example, a parent with joint physical custody would have to prove why it is in their child’s best interest to move from Brooklyn to Queens. The other parent will have the opportunity to prove why the child needs to remain in Brooklyn
For more information or for legal representation, contact us.