Child Custody Lawyer in Rochester, NY
Experienced Rochester Child Custody Lawyer Helping Families Move Forward After Divorce
Child custody disputes are among the most contentious and stressful in family law. Going through a divorce is difficult enough, but determining custody makes the entire process much more stressful.
You want what is best for your child, and that means ensuring that he or she has the right custody arrangement. The Cimino Law firm has over 20 years of experience in child custody cases in the state of New York. Our Rochester law firm can help you get a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of your child. We understand this is a complicated process, but we will be by your side every step of the way.
What Are The Types of Child Custody?
Many parents are surprised that there are various types of child custody in New York. We will talk with you to determine the type of custody you need for the well-being of your child.
Physical custody refers to the parent with which the child stays. If a parent receives sole physical custody, the child will live with the parent full time or most of the time. The non-custodial parent might get visitation rights, but the child’s home base will be with the parent who received full physical custody.
Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions that impact the child. Examples include selecting a school, choosing (or not choosing) a church, and determining medical care. If a parent has sole legal custody, he or she makes all of these decisions without having to consider the input of the other parent.
Joint custody is often awarded in New York. Joint custody means that both parents split legal and physical custody. Even with joint custody, it’s not unusual for the child to spend slightly more time with one parent. However, joint physical custody is usually close to 50-50.
An order for temporary custody is normally granted during the divorce proceedings. Divorces take time to finalize, so a temporary custody order is put in place to protect the child. Many parents ignore the importance of temporary custody orders. However, temporary custody orders are often used when determining permanent custody. For instance, if one parent gets sole custody during the divorce, he or she is more likely to get permanent custody afterward. The Cimino Law Firm helps our clients during this process as well to ensure they are on a sound footing as they move through the divorce proceedings.
What Is Child Visitation?
When a parent is not granted sole custody, an order for visitation is needed. Parents often agree to a visitation schedule, but if not, the court will decide. If the parent is unstable or a danger to the child, supervised visitation will be ordered. However, if this is not the case, the court will order unsupervised visitation. This will allow the non-custodial parent to have the child for overnight visits.
The courts are more flexible with visitation rights than they were in the past. Years ago, visitation usually meant weekend visits. Now, if the child is safe with the parent, the court is likely to order regular visits.
The Cimino Law Firm understands that parents need to spend meaningful time with their children. They do not just visit them. They parent them. They teach them and raise them, even if they are not the sole physical caregiver. That is why we fight to help parents receive a visitation schedule that will help the child’s growth, development, and well-being.
On the other hand, if your spouse is a danger to your child, we will work to protect him or her. Everything we do is in the best interest of the child.
How Is Custody Determined?
Our legal team can help you mediate a custody agreement. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement or feel that your child will be in danger, we will present evidence to the court. Then the court will determine the custody order.
New York courts determine child custody based on the best interest of the child. To do this, the court analyzes various aspects of the arrangement. These include:
- The strengths and weaknesses of both parents
- Each parent’s ability to provide for special needs, if applicable
- The physical and mental health of both parties
- Charges of domestic violence, if applicable
- Work schedules
- Childcare plans
- The child’s relationship with other members of the family
- The relationship between the parents
- The child’s primary caregiver before the divorce
- The child’s preference
Child preference is one of the most confusing aspects of child custody law. There is a myth that the child can choose which parent to live with after reaching the age of 13, but this is not true. However, the court does give weight to the child’s preference, as long as the child is old enough to make a decision. The older the child, the more weight the preference is given. Still, the court bases decisions on the best interest of the child, not child preference alone.
We understand that sometimes, the child will want to live with the more lenient parent, but this isn’t always in the best interest of the child. We can help you, even if your child wants to live with the “fun parent” who has pizza for every dinner and doesn’t believe in homework. We will also help you navigate the roller-coaster of emotions that come with fighting for custody.
Can You Modify a Custody Agreement?
It is not unusual for parents to need to modify a custody agreement. When circumstances change, a parent can petition the court to change the arrangement. The parent must present evidence that shows the change is in the best interest of the child. This can be quite complicated, so it’s critical to get legal help.
Can You Move With a Child Custody Agreement in Place?
Parents need to keep their custody agreements in mind if they are considering relocating far enough that it will create a hardship for the parent with visitation rights. The parent has two options. He or she can ask the other parent for permission. Those who go this route need to get it in writing. The parent can also petition for custody modification.
What If My Spouse Refuses to Follow a Custody Order?
Sadly, some parents refuse to follow custody orders. Some parents don’t visit their children, even though they have the right to do so. The parent with physical custody can petition the court to modify the order to limit visitation until the parent follows a schedule. The courts understand that following a program is very important for the children.
The other issue is much more frightening. Sometimes, parents with visitation rights pick up their children and don’t return them. This is one of the scariest aspects of child custody cases, and it happens more than you might think. In 2017, 2,359 non-custodial parents refused to return their children.
We will use all legal resources to get your child back into your custody. This can include filing a violation petition in Family Court and contacting the police. Your child’s safety is of our utmost concern, and we will not rest until he or she is safely back home.
Experienced Rochester Child Custody Lawyer
You love your child more than life itself, and you want to spend ample time with him or her. The right child custody agreement will allow for this. The Cimino Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience with child custody cases. We have successfully mediated cases outside of court, just as we have fought for our clients inside the courtroom.
With two convenient locations in Webster and Rochester, NY, we are right around the corner and ready to help you. You don’t even need to stop by for your first appointment. Begin the process with a free phone consultation. After we go over your case, we will be ready to help you fight for custody.