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The Best Interest of the Child

Breaking up or getting a divorce is rarely easy on anyone, and when you enter children into the equation, it gets even more emotional, stressful, and complicated. For some people child custody issues are easy to work out and everyone agrees, and all the more power to them. However, for other couples child custody is a highly contested issue, and one that can lead to a significant amount of emotional turmoil for the mother, father, and the children themselves.

Parents have to remember that children take cues from their parents, and when their parents are arguing over child custody, the children can become upset and believe they are the reason for the conflict and they can think it's all their fault. For this reason, it's important that parents treat each other with respect and be civil to each other for the sake of their kids.

Awarding Physical Custody

Although New York used to favor mothers in divorce proceedings, these days the courts have no preferential treatment towards the mothers or the fathers. Both parents are given equal consideration when determining who will get the kids. Ideally, the parents will work out a child custody and visitation arrangement amongst themselves; however, when parents cannot come to terms on such an agreement, a family court judge will have to step in and decide for them.

The family court makes child custody decisions based on a broad number of factors, many of which include the following:

  • Which parent (mother or father) has been the main caregiver of the child
  • Each parent's ability to provide for their child's needs
  • The parenting skills of each parent, including their strengths and weaknesses
  • Each parent's mental and physical health
  • History of domestic violence
  • Each parent's work schedule and plans for childcare
  • The child's relationship with siblings, extended family members, and ties to the community
  • For older children, what the child wants
  • Each parent's willingness to cooperate with the other parent and encourage the child's relationship with the other parent (in the absence of domestic violence etc.)

When Parents Aren't Fit to Raise the Kids

There are times where there will be safety issues that will impact the outcome of a child custody proceeding. For example, if one parent has abused the other spouse, or if they have abused the children, another family member, or the family pets, this may be taken into consideration.

Even in cases where the children have not personally witnessed the violence but there has been an arrest, a conviction, or a restraining order taken out on that parent, it will be a factor in determining child custody. Also, if one parent is a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a new partner or a new spouse and the child witnesses it, this may be considered as well.

The courts will also look further into the facts of the case, they will consider heavily each parent's ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for the child, and they will consider if there are any issues over neglect, drug or alcohol abuse.

As a general rule, the courts genuinely do want the children to have a strong and active relationship with both parents. Studies have proven that children who have both parents in their lives do better in school, and tend to be less engaged in criminal behaviors. If you are currently dealing with a child custody issue, we urge you to contact a Long Island child custody lawyer from Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC.

We are here to explain your rights and responsibilities, New York law as it pertains to child custody, and to take the mystery out of the court process. Contact us today so we can get started helping you pursue the child custody arrangement you are hoping for!

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The divorce process can be complicated, so it is important that you seek the help of an experienced professional, such as the divorce attorneys at our law firm. We can guide you through each step and help you resolve your divorce issues quickly and effectively.

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