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Suffolk County Child Custody Lawyers

Advocating for Your Child's Best Interests

Child custody agreements or orders in Suffolk County, NY set out the legal parameters between children and their parents. There are two different forms of custody: legal custody and physical custody. At Montefusco Law Group, our child custody lawyers 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.

The type of lawyer that handles child custody are experienced family law attorneys. Child custody lawyers also study many other various areas of practice that are related to one another for representing clients. For example, a client who is going through a divorce could also be dealing with a custody battle, arrange visitation, set up child support and handle alimony.

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

Why Securing a Lawyer is Crucial for Child Custody Cases

In general, child custody cases tend to be emotionally-charged for parents and their child. Even the easiest of child custody cases normally include deep dives into finances, your character as a parent, and detailed constituents of family law in Suffolk County.

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.

Understanding Legal Custody

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.

Identifying an Unfit Parent in New York

The legal meaning of an unfit parent in NY is when a parent fails to provide proper guidance, care, or child support through their behavior. Furthermore, if there are other domestic abuses, neglect, or substance abuse issues, that parent will be considered unfit.

What is Physical Custody?

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 Parents Can't Agree on Custody

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.

Protecting Your Child's Well-being

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.

Self-Representation vs. Professional Advocacy in Custody Battles

Many parents cannot find a solution on their own and our New York lawyers understand the difficult situations our clients face. Our child custody attorneys work aggressively and with compassion to protect you and your child custody arrangement.

Call Montefusco Law Group today. Dial (631) 801-0007 now.

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