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 child 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 is a Child Custody Lawyer?
A child custody lawyer is your most valuable asset in any child custody case. Beyond that, a custody lawyer is a licensed attorney that works to aid individuals in child custody cases by presenting their arguments to the judge overseeing the case. They are able to present your arguments in a clear unbiased manner and provide supporting evidence to your claims.
Child custody lawyers ask questions to determine all the details of your case, so they can accurately assess your chances of gaining a favorable custody order. They will provide you advice and guidance throughout your case to ensure the best results.
A child custody lawyer must achieve a high level of academic success before they are able to practice in their state. After earning a Bachelor’s degree, they must then compete in the law school application process. Once they have earned their Juris Doctorate from their law school, they must then take and pass the Bar Exam in their state. Most states also require lawyers to take another exam called the MRPE to become a fully licensed lawyer.
What Are The Types of Child Custody?
The laws regarding custody are written to help determine the responsibilities of each parent in raising their child. The laws are very clear in their emphasis on granting custody rights that align with the best interest of the child.
Child custody is a very complex topic. Custody of a child can be given to one parent, both parents, another adult, or the child may become a ward of the state and assigned a guardian.
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 child 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 child 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 child 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 child 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 child 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 the child custody process as well to ensure they are on a sound footing as they move through the divorce proceedings.
A custody lawyer in Rochester, NY will work with you to determine the best way forward in your case. They will ask questions to get a full picture of the situation and will consider your best possible outcome whether it’s full custody or joint custody. Additionally, an experienced Rochester child custody lawyer will give you insights into what a judge will consider the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
What Does the Judge Consider in Child Custody Cases?
First and foremost, a judge will consider what they believe is in the best interests of the child which takes precedent in all cases. This can range from protecting a child from a dangerous parent or determining which parent will be able to best provide for the child and all their needs. That said, there are certain aspects of your case that a judge will consider including:
- Dangers Presented by a Parent (ie. physical abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse, etc.)
- The Child’s Relationship with Extended Family, Friends, and Their Roots in the Community
- The Child’s Primary Caregiver
- The Child’s Wishes (if they are old and mature enough to present them)
- Parent’s Ability to Provide for All of Their Child’s Needs
- Whether a Parent will be able to Care for a Special Needs Child (if applicable)
- The Health of All Parties (Mental & Physical)
- The Parents’ Preferences
It’s essential to work with a qualified and experienced Rochester child custody lawyer to ensure that you are able to best present your case to the judge, especially if you are pursuing sole custody. A great Rochester child custody lawyer understands the difficult nature of these negotiations and will do their utmost to build an airtight argument supporting your ability to provide excellent care for your child.
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 for child custody is in the best interest of the child.
How Is Child 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 child 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 child 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 child 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.
How to Choose the Best Child Custody Lawyer in Rochester, NY
When it comes to handling the delicate and complex legal situation that may arise when you are attempting to secure custody of your child, it’s imperative to work with a child custody lawyer who will do their best to argue your case. However, with the plethora of custody lawyers who are available to take your case, it can be difficult to choose the best one.
Difficult, but not impossible.
Before taking the time to scour the white pages, try asking friends and family members if they have any recommendations for the best child custody lawyers in Rochester. Whether you have a divorced friend with full custody or a family member who was able to successfully negotiate joint custody, these individuals are great resources. Not only can they provide you with insight about their own experiences, but they can point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a top-notch child custody lawyer.
However, you’ll have to keep in mind that all custody cases are unique. Even if you find a great lawyer through a friend or family member, there’s no guarantee that they are the best lawyer to take on your case. You’ll have to do your due diligence to ensure that you are making an informed decision. Here are some questions to ask prospects that will help you choose the best child custody lawyer in Rochester, NY.
- What are your qualifications?
- How much experience do you have in child custody law?
- Have you dealt with any cases that are similar to mine? How did they fare?
- How long have you been practicing family law?
- What are your fees and pricing for child custody cases?
- Can you give me a brief assessment of my case and what you think my next steps should be?
- Are you confident in your ability to help me gain custody of my child?
Contact an Experienced Custody Lawyer in Rochester, NY
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 22 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.
When choosing a custody lawyer, it’s vital to understand their important role in your fight for a favorable custody order ruling whether you are seeking sole or joint custody. The Rochester child custody lawyer you choose should understand the sensitive nature of these proceedings and have the experience necessary to get the job done.
The Cimino Law Firm is dedicated to providing that and more to our clients in the Rochester, NY area. Michelle Cimino Esq. has been serving the Rochester region for over 22 years and has used that experience to fight for her clients. She is dedicated to making these difficult family law issues as easy as possible for her clients from the initial consultation to the final child custody ruling.
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 child custody.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to ensure the health of our clients and staff. In order to provide the best service possible, we are conducting free telephone or virtual consultations.