As a parent, there is nothing more important than being able to raise and care for your child. This is why you must prepare to fight for the best possible child custody outcome if you are undergoing a divorce. This article answers many questions about child custody and how a proficient Nassau County child custody lawyer can inform you on what to expect during the negotiation process.
How do Courts Determine a Child Custody Agreement in Nassau County?
Before all else, it is important to define the two types of child custody recognized in Nassau County.
For one, physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child spends most of their time, thus establishing the child’s main residence. Sometimes, this can be split equally and be considered shared physical custody.
Then, legal custody gives a parent the right to make important life decisions on the child’s behalf, such as decisions on medical treatment, practiced religion, education, etc. Notably, legal custody is not dependent on physical custody and can be awarded to one or both parents.
That said, the Nassau County court will consider the following factors when determining your child custody agreement:
- Your and your ex’s physical and mental health.
- Your and your ex’s employment responsibilities and earning capacities.
- Any history of domestic violence, mental impairment, drug abuse, or substance abuse.
- The safety and needs of your child.
- The quality and continuity of your child’s education.
- The geographical proximity between your and your ex’s homes.
- The stability of your and your ex’s individual home environments.
- The relationship you and your ex individually have with your child.
- The preference of your child, if of sufficient age.
Are Mothers More Likely to Get Custody of a Child in New York State?
The Nassau County court is supposed to be impartial, otherwise known as “gender blind,” and consider each parent equal when determining who gets custody. However, there is still a slight bias toward mothers.
Notably, a child who is under the age of two will seldom be separated from their mother. Additionally, it is typical that a child who is under the age of 14 will primarily live with their mother
This is not to say that a mother will be granted automatic custody of their child. So, as a father, if you can prove that a mother is parentally unfit, the court will rule in your favor instead.
Can a Child Choose Which Parent They Want to Live with?
Some states have laws that require the family courts to consider the child’s opinion when making a child custody settlement agreement. And while the Nassau County courts are allowed to consider a child’s opinion, they are not necessarily required to.
An important factor in this is that a child must be deemed old or mature enough to have a say in a custody agreement for the court to consider their opinion. This is generally considered to be around the age of 13. Ultimately, the decision will be based on the child’s best interests, which may or may not align with the child’s wishes.
Can Grandparents get Custody of a Child in Nassau County?
It is difficult to get custody of a child as a grandparent. However, the Nassau County court may grant you custody rights if you can prove that there was a separation of the child and the parent for at least 24 continuous months, during which the parent voluntarily relinquished their care and control of the child, and they resided in their home.
As far as visitation rights are concerned, you can file a petition to the New York Supreme Court or family court if the parents are deceased or if there are certain circumstances that warrant intervention. With this, the court must determine if granting visitation rights would be in the child’s best interest.
What should I do if My Ex is Neglecting Our Child Custody Agreement or Putting Our Child at Risk?
If you share joint custody of your child with your ex, but you would like to obtain sole custody because they are posing a risk or are otherwise parentally unfit, then you may request a modification of your custody agreement.
But, before going through this lengthy process, you should first take steps toward obtaining a restraining order against your ex. This is the quickest way to protect your child from further risk or neglect.
What is Supervised Visitation?
With supervised visitation, the noncustodial parent will only have access to the child when supervised by another adult.
The Nassau County court will order supervised visitation if the noncustodial parent has a documented history of domestic violence, mental impairment, substance abuse, or any other situation where the safety and well-being of your child may be compromised.
What should I Do if My Ex Wants to Move out of State with Our Child?
If you are a noncustodial parent and your ex wants to move out of state with your child, you must demonstrate to the Nassau County court that the relocation is not in good faith. Specifically, you must argue that the opportunities in the new location are harmful to your child or that the proposed visitation plan will not permit your child to maintain a close relationship with you.
On the other hand, if you share legal and physical custody of your child with your ex, a full court hearing and review are necessary. In the end, the court will designate one parent as the primary custodial parent with whom the children will live.
Contact Barrows Levy, PLLC Today
When it comes to child support, an experienced Nassau County family law attorney can make all the difference. With us on your side through every step of the legal process ahead, you and your child are in good hands. Contact Barrows Levy PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm so you can tell us your story and so we can formulate the best strategy for your situation.