Child visitation is one of the most important areas of law. Helping a parent establish a meaningful relationship with their child is a critically important part of a lawyer’s work. At Spodek Law Group, helping parents establish and build a relationship with their child is both a privilege and an obligation that we take very seriously. There’s nothing more important to you than your children, and we want to partner with you to help you establish the best custody and parenting time schedule for you and your children.
How the courts decide custody and visitation
New York courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. That is, they look at the entire situation and determine what’s best for the child. That’s not necessarily what’s best or the most convenient for either parent.
There are a number of factors that the court may consider in order to evaluate what’s best for the child. These factors might include:
- Stability – Each parent needs to have appropriate housing. The court will also look at the presence of third parties in the parent’s home.
- Child care arrangements – You need to have appropriate arrangements for the child while you’re at work. If you need help paying for day care, the court may award you child support to help you pay for care.
- Which parent has been the primary caretaker until this point in the child’s life
- Mental and physical health of each parent
- Domestic abuse – Abuse can impact a custody decision whether or not the children witness it.
- Siblings – The court wants children to know their siblings
- The child’s preference – A child’s preference can’t control the decision, but the court can consider it.
The court doesn’t have to weigh each factor evenly. They don’t check off each factor and total up the score. Instead, they look at the entire situation together in order to make their decision.
Establishing visitation and making changes to your parenting time schedule
As children grow, the best parenting time schedule might change. A parent might move or have a job change that makes it more practical to follow a different visitation schedule. A young child might need frequent contact with both parents, while an older child might prefer fewer changes and longer periods of time with each parent.
If there’s a change of circumstances since the last order, you can ask the court to change the schedule. If you can show the court how things have changed, the court will look at the circumstances of the case in order to determine if it’s best for the children to have the change in schedule. In most cases, the court will order that each parent should have at least some time with the child.
Why work with an attorney
Working with an experienced New York child visitation attorney can help you make your case as strong as possible. The courts base their decisions on evidence. They consider the statements of the parents, but that’s only one of the things they can use to make a decision.
New York courts use a very specific set of rules in order to decide what evidence the judge can consider. An experienced attorney can help you look at the types of evidence that you might be able to gather in your case. They can help you determine how to present the evidence in a way that the court will accept. At every step, your attorney can help you build a strong case and guide you through New York’s complex court system.