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Suffolk County Child Custody Lawyers

Working in the Best Interests of Your Child in Islip & Brookhaven

Child custody agreements or orders set out the legal parameters between children and their parents. There are two different forms of custody: legal custody and physical custody. At the Law Office of Robert H. Montefusco, we can help you navigate these complex issues.

  • Legal custody is either sole or joint and determines which parent will have the vested power to make decisions concerning the child’s health, education, religion, and welfare.
  • Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides with predominantly, subject to the visitation rights of the other parent.

Dial (631) 801-0007 now to schedule your free initial consultation with our Suffolk County divorce lawyers. You can also contact us online.

We handle many other issues to ensure your child's needs are at the forefront:

Visitation is the term used for the visits the parent who does not have physical custody is allowed, at a minimum absent consent of both parties. There are many variations of physical custody agreements and/or orders. Custody matters in New York are based upon the best interests of the child.

Definition of Legal Custody in New York

When a parent is the sole decision-maker about a child's medical care, religion, education and other such important arrangements, that parent is said to have legal custody. Both parents can also be decision makers and, where this is the case, they are said to have joint legal custody of a child.

Definition of Physical Custody in New York

The parent with whom a child lives has physical custody of that child. Physical custody involves providing the child with physical care and supervision. In shared physical custody, a child lives for roughly an equal amount of time with each parent, which usually only occurs by agreement of the parties.

A judge determines custody according to the best interests of the child. This includes a parent's ability to care for the child, as well as the work schedules of the parents, in addition to the ability of the parents to cooperate.

Child Custody and Child Support

The physical custodial parent will receive child support from the non-custodial parent. Child support is based upon percentages of the parents' joint income which correspond with the number of children. i.e., one child is 17%, two children is 25%, three children is 29%, four children is 31%, five or more children is 35%. It's true that many valuable assets may need to be divided in a divorce. However, a custody case's most valuable assets are the children. Although no one can completely prevent the negative emotions involved with child custody proceedings, securing legal counsel right away can help to ensure smooth proceedings that cause as little stress as possible.

When Couples Disagree

If parties are unable to reach an agreement on custody and visitation issues, the court will appoint an attorney for the child at the cost of the parties, usually divided in proportion to their respective incomes. The court will afford the child’s preference regarding which parent to reside with and why some weight in determining custody in relation to the child’s age.

Protect Your Family from Harmful Influence

Another consideration regarding custody is the issue of parental alienation. Parental alienation refers to the process in which a child is psychologically persuaded to emotionally detach from a parent, either by losing respect or love for that parent. This can be caused by one party purposely, such as in the case of one parent interfering with the other parent and child’s relationship, or may occur out of the natural consequences of a stressful divorce proceeding.

During a custody dispute, a parent may argue parental alienation with the intention of swaying the court on where the best interests of the child lie. The court must account for the justification as to why the child is not seeing the specific parent.

In cases such as these, courts rely on:

  • Evidence, such as witness testimony regarding the alienating behavior
  • Any direct interaction between the court and the child, and with the parents
  • Court-appointed forensic experts, such as psychologists who can help determine whether or not a child is a victim of parental alienation.

If alienation is proven, it is highly weighed when considering what is in the best interests of the child. Often courts may direct and/or change the custody status in order to prevent further parental alienation. Cases are decided on an individual basis because the determination relies on facts and how modifications of custody will impact a child.

Call the Law Office of Robert H. Montefusco today. Dial (631) 801-0007 now.

Testimonials
  • He's as good as they come, no one will fight harder for you!!

    “If you're going through a divorce do yourself a favor and see this guy!!! He's as good as they come, no one will fight harder for you!!”

    John

  • Robert, I want you to know you are a blessing! AND THANK YOU!!!

    “You are so knowledgeable and took so much time with me… for that I am so thankful!!!!”

    Lynn M.

  • THE LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT MONTEFUSCO IS ONE IN A MILLION

    “Robert and his staff have always went above and beyond for me throughout every step of my brutal divorce and custody process. My case is currently still open and we are in 3 court rooms. Robert is exceptionally educated, experienced, and understanding when it comes to matrimonial law. The past 2 years of my life have been the most darkest and at times unbearable because of the mistake I made in choosing the wrong partner. At times, I would call their office literally 3-4 times A DAY panicking, stressing, obsessing, and mostly crying. I never felt I was annoying them or a nuisance; they were ALWAYS there for me. Robert is not only my attorney, many times he acts as my therapist and calms me down and subsides my fears. Maureen was there beside me to sign the papers to file for the hardest decisions of my life and she always helped in making the process as smooth and seamless as possible. Hope is an amazing asset as well. She is always there to answer any questions I have and always was an extra pair of ears for me to vent to. In choosing this law firm you not only get an amazingly experienced attorney, you get a FIGHTER. Robert defends and protects me aggressively and passionately every single court appearance. For the first time in my life I have absolutely NO FEAR walking into the courtrooms ever anymore because HE is by my side. I am confident that I not only have an amazing group of people working on my case every day, but I have found friends for the rest of my life. The words Thank You will never be enough for what each of them have done for me during this difficult time in my life. You guys ROCK!”

    Jessica P

  • Mr. Montefusco has the right amount of pitbull in him and uses it when the opportunity requires.

    “Mr. Montefusco and his assistant were and continue to be excellent.”

    David

  • Robert did everything in his power to ensure the best come for me, my kids and my future. Thanks

    “Robert did a great job on finalizing my divorce with a very difficult X Wife.”

    Rob

  • His office personnel was unbelievable.

    “He explains everything in detail.”

    Edward

  • Attorney Montefusco is absolutely the best – – Period.

    “It’s truly a privilege to be represented by an attorney I feel is the best and I never worry when Robert’s by my side.”

    Francis

  • He is open, honest and will not provide false promises.

    “They were exceptional in making sure conversations and milestones were communicated to me as well as very thorough in the handling of paperwork, agreement and the decree.”

    Jim

  • What was most impressive, was his caring, both for the child and us, the grandparents.

    “The court awarded us custody and the child never entered the foster care system.”

    John

  • With Robert’s talent and experience, we never had to go to court.

    “I would definitely recommend Robert Montefusco. Thanks for all that you did for me.”

    Bob

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