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Child Custody & Visitation
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When your divorce or separation includes children, one of the most important decisions you must make is how you will arrange your children’s time. Your parenting plan, formerly called custody and visitation, should be tailored to the needs, challenges, and opportunities for your specific family.
Oftentimes, in custody and visitation proceedings in New York State, an attorney is appointed for the child in question in order to represent and advocate for the child’s best interests.
Under New York State law, a person can be charged with kidnapping, a class B felony which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, when he or she abducts another person. The New York State Court of Appeals has determined that parents can be charged with kidnapping their own children even when they have custody of them.
Joint custody or "shared parenting", as it is also called, is a legal concept that may be easy to define, but in practice, and in the courtroom, it is interpreted in various ways. Complicating matters is the fact that joint custody is defined differently in most states.
There are many instances when a parent seeks to relocate with a child out of New York State, claiming economic necessity as the basis for such a move. Parents seeking to relocate out-of-state have various reasons for doing so, from an out-of-state job offer to a more affordable lifestyle.
In any divorce, custody will be one of the most difficult subjects to resolve. Child custody in itself is a complex matter, rife with legal nuances and potentially volatile emotions.
Parents, particularly younger ones, sometimes face temporary changes of housing or temporary job or military assignments, where they may need grandparents to care for their child. Sometimes the parent will give the grandparent legal forms such as letters of temporary guardianship, to allow the grandparent to handle school and medical matters, but without actually transferring custody to the grandparent (which would require a court order to undo).
If you have custody of your kids, but your ex gets visitation, it may be tempting to withhold these rights if child support is late. After all, it may seem unfair that your ex gets the privilege of spending time with the kids without helping you out financially. But you are encouraged to keep visitation and finances separate from each other. There are a few reasons for this.
During divorce, some manipulative women claim their husband is not the biological father of their children. The point of this is to discourage the father from going after custody or visitation, as some mothers do not want to share their kids after divorce. If you are a father who has been faced with this issue, you should get to know the specific steps to take to get the best chance of seeing your children again.
As is appropriate, lawyers and judges have historically looked to the therapeutic and medical community for direction in the development of legal policies affecting children. This article discusses how current research has challenged some of the child development and parental conflict theories upon which family law legislation, standards and guidelines for parental access and conflict are based.
Too often the emotional needs of both parents are enmeshed in the battle despite the needs of the children. The complex legal issues presented typically exist as a result of the misconduct, or mental impairments of one or both parents, whose intractable contradictory positions operate in direct opposition to the best interests of their children which makes a recommendation as to which living arrangement with these parents is in the child’s “best interest” an almost impossible task.
If you plan to get visitation of your children, you may be wondering how often you will see them. The answer varies depending on the circumstances, and you and the custodial parent should come to an agreement with the help of your lawyers. However, getting an idea of some common visitation arrangements may help you determine a good schedule.
In the New York Times article dated October 24, 2011, reporter Liz Robbins describes an incredible event that has taken place in Brooklyn Family Court and involved two very distraught families.
During the summer of 1995, I received a letter written by a 13 year old child from summer camp. The letter indicated that her parents were going through a divorce; that the judge had awarded custody of her to her mother; that she wanted to live with her father; that she was very unhappy living with her mother; and that the law guardian appointed to represent her had not worked to help her live with her father.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the ’Hague Convention’) was designed to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention by their parents.
New York’s custody laws are not written in any statute. Rather, they have evolved over the years by numerous court decision. Regardless of how New York determines its custody laws, it is important to understand that conceptually, custody cases are unlike most other cases.
The term custody encompasses the rights that parents have in their minor children, including the right to have their minor children live with them and to make all decisions regarding their education, health, and general well-being.
Unfortunately for many grandparents, they will not be able to visit with their grandchildren for the holidays or any other time due to the divorce of their grandchildren’s parents or other circumstances, such as that their child and his or her spouse have decided that the grandparents should no longer see the grandchildren.
The New York Law Journal’s article on highlights the way in which children suffer as a result of the system where children end up getting removed from their parents by Child Services and linger in foster care because a judge’s hands are tied by time frames imposed as a result of budget cuts.

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New York does not automatically give custody of children to any one parent. In deciding custody, the court only considers what is in the best interest of the child. It considers who gave primary care during the marriage, scheduled doctors' appointments, and attended school meetings. Generally, the court allows the non-custodial parent ample visitation with the child and even awards joint custody. Visitation is often only limited in circumstances where there is abuse.

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