Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer
Fighting for Families Throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, & Staten Island
No divorce is easy, and when children are involved, the process becomes even more difficult. As a parent, you are likely ready to do everything possible to protect the future health and happiness of your child. Unfortunately, parents will often disagree over what is in the best interest of their child.
Child custody battles are notoriously messy and contentious, and you will need an experienced legal advocate in your corner. We have over 35 years of legal experience and are deeply invested in helping clients successfully navigate these conflicts. Our founder, Janice G. Roven, Esq., has been through this process herself and knows what is at stake. We understand that this is a stressful and difficult time for you, and our Manhattan child custody attorneys will work to provide your family with the compassionate legal support you need and deserve.
What are the types of child custody in New York?
If divorcing parents cannot reach an agreement on custody arrangements themselves, a judge will decide for them. We sometimes tend to think about “custody” as a singular concept, but there are two distinct types of custody that are awarded in New York.
When a parent has “physical custody,” their child lives with them. Many divorces result in joint physical custody. In these scenarios, a child will regularly see and live with both parents. Joint custody is not necessarily evenly split, and one parent may get more time than the other. Sole physical custody is also sometimes awarded. In these cases, the child will exclusively live with the parent awarded sole physical custody.
Legal custody does not involve living arrangements but covers decisions involving the child’s upbringing, health, and safety. When a parent has legal custody, they get a say in their child’s education, medical care, and religious background, among other things. Most courts in New York will attempt to award legal custody to both parents whenever possible.
Child Visitation Rights in New York
When someone is not awarded primary physical custody, they will, by definition, not have as much access to their child as the other parent. The parent without primary physical custody is often referred to as the noncustodial parent, even if they do have some smaller level of physical custody. Visitation rights will be determined in conjunction with physical custody decisions as part of divorce proceedings.
At the bare minimum, New York law stipulates that a noncustodial parent will in most cases get an overnight weekend visit with their child every other week and a weeknight visit every week. Depending on the situation, a judge can award substantially more – whatever they believe to be fair and in the best interest of the child. A judge will also typically determine holiday and summer schedules.
Everyone should get to spend ample time with their child. Our Manhattan child custody and visitation attorney can advocate for you and help you negotiate a fair agreement.
What factors does a judge consider when determining child custody?
In a custody battle, a judge will make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. Changes in physical custody – especially if a move is involved - can have immediate and substantial impacts on a child’s well-being, and a judge will attempt to mitigate these consequences as much as possible.
When determining who to award primary physical custody to, a New York judge may assess many factors, including:
- The child’s current relationship to each parent
- The child’s custody preference (especially if they are older)
- The health and stability of each parent
- The home environment each parent will be able to provide
- The willingness of the parents to maintain a relationship and work together
- Circumstances involving siblings or other immediate family members
- Any substance abuse or domestic violence issues
As a parent, you will need to prove that you are best suited to meet your child’s needs in order to prevail in a custody battle. Our Manhattan child custody lawyers at Roven Law Group, P.C. will work to put you in the best possible position and do everything we can to secure a favorable outcome.
“She navigated the process with clarity and confidence and was a great & fair advocate for me.” - Judy Y.
“Extremely happy. Huge weight off my shoulders. I’m thrilled, and I can finally breathe.” - Caio R.
“She treated me with compassion, humility and showed professionalism with determination, intelligence and astuteness. She works calmly with effectiveness and produces results.” - O. F.
“I highly recommend!!!! If I can put 10 stars she is deserving of them all.” - Kia S.
“Janice is the best. Available, brilliant, tactical. She provided support, wisdom and good advice whenever it was needed.” - Aaron S.
A judge will only grant a modification to an existing child custody order if they agree there has been a “substantial” change in circumstances. In other words, you cannot request a change to your current arrangement simply because you are unhappy with it. A major new development affecting the welfare of your child must prompt the request.
A judge may consider changes to an existing child custody and visitation order in situations where:
- A parent has become seriously injured or ill
- A parent is battling a substance abuse problem
- A parent has become violent and is physically harming the child
- A parent is no longer providing a stable home for the child
- A parent is attempting to move far away
- A parent is failing to honor a visitation agreement
- A parent’s financial circumstances have significantly changed
- The child has expressed interest in a change (particularly if they are older)
As with the initial custody order, the judge reviewing the request will consider what is in the best interests of the child. Requests to modify child custody are also often met with stiff resistance from the other parent. Our Manhattan child custody lawyers are ready to help you seek, or defend against, these requests.
Contact Roven Law Group, P.C. today to schedule a consultation with our Manhattan child custody attorneys!