Manhattan Child Custody Attorney
Compassionate Advocacy for New York Families
At the Law Office of Patricia M. Machado, P.C., our skilled child custody attorneys represent Manhattan families in life’s most challenging seasons. From parenting plans to modifications to paternity rights, our firm has the in-depth knowledge and experience to prioritize your unique needs from start to finish.
Our family lawyers are sympathetic to the hardships of navigating family court proceedings. From hostile dissolutions to child support disputes, family law matters can be highly complex and difficult to resolve. That’s why our passionate advocates are here to help you and your loved ones navigate the complexities of your case with wisdom and integrity.
Family law disputes can be financially and emotionally taxing, but you don't have to fight alone. Call (646) 355-1560 to schedule a consultation.
Child Custody Laws in New York
Child custody laws in New York State are designed to prioritize the child's best interests when parents cannot agree on custody arrangements. These laws encompass various aspects of child custody, including legal custody, physical custody, and joint custody. There are various child custody arrangements that can be granted to Manhattan families. Some primary types of child custody to understand in New York include:
- Legal Custody – Legal custody is the right to make important decisions for your child’s upbringing and well-being, such as those related to education, healthcare, and religion. In most cases, New York courts aim to promote joint legal custody, ensuring both parents have a say in these crucial matters.
- Physical Custody – Physical custody addresses where the child resides and spends their time. It can be awarded solely to one parent (“sole physical custody”) or shared between both parents (“joint physical custody”).
- Joint Custody – Joint custody involves shared responsibilities in both legal and physical aspects of parenting. It can take various forms, such as joint legal custody, with one parent having primary physical custody or joint legal and physical custody, where the child spends roughly equal time with each parent.
What Factors Are Considered in Child Custody Decisions?
In determining child custody arrangements, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child. Various factors are taken into account, such as:
- The child's age and health
- The child's relationship with each parent
- Each parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment
- Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent
- The child's preference, if age-appropriate
The court is obligated to conduct a thorough review of such factors to determine an ideal child custody arrangement, always with the child’s best interests in mind, to ensure their safety and well-being.
Modifying Child Custody Arrangements in NY
While child custody rulings can be stressful for all involved parties, it’s important to remember two key things: 1.) that New York family courts are legally obligated to act in the child’s best interest, regardless of parental intervention or preference; and 2.) no child custody arrangement is truly set in stone.
The court fully understands that as children grow, their needs change. In the event that parents find it necessary to modify their existing parenting plan or custody arrangement, they may be eligible to file for a modification. There are various situations that can warrant the modification of a child custody agreement, such as:
- Changes in scheduling: If there have been significant changes in either parent's work schedule or lifestyle that impact their ability to fulfill the current custody arrangement.
- Changes in living arrangements: If one parent plans to relocate or if there are concerns about the child's living conditions or safety.
- Changes in education or schooling: If there are disputes regarding the child's education, such as a change in school or disagreements on homeschooling.
- Other significant life changes: Typically, courts will grant modifications if petitioners can prove that there was a significant life change to warrant it. This generally entails a substantial change that may negatively affect the child’s health or well-being.
Understanding the New York Modification Process
In Manhattan, there are various ways for co-parents to prepare for child custody modifications, including:
- Securing experienced representation – A qualified family lawyer can guide your steps wisely and help determine an effective legal strategy to employ on your behalf in court.
- Filing the petition – To initiate the modification process, you’ll need to file a petition with the family court that has jurisdiction over your case. The petition should outline the reasons for the requested modification and provide supporting evidence.
- Undergoing mediation – In many cases, family courts require mediation before proceeding to litigation. Mediation sessions provide an opportunity for both parties to discuss their concerns and work towards reaching an agreement. A neutral mediator facilitates these discussions.
- Preparing for potential evaluations or investigations – If mediation fails or is deemed inappropriate for your situation, the court may appoint a neutral evaluator or investigator to assess the circumstances and make recommendations to the court.
- Attending court hearings – If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation or evaluation, the case will proceed to a court hearing. At the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence to the judge, who will then make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
Turn to a Trusted Child Custody Attorney in Manhattan
At the Law Office of Patricia M. Machado, P.C., we have decades of legal experience to represent New York families throughout Manhattan. Our compassionate team understands the sensitive and emotional nature of family law disputes, which is why our seasoned family lawyers are here to guide your steps calmly and carefully. We have a longstanding reputation for delivering customized and strategic solutions to clients undergoing a variety of legal disputes in New York, from immigration conflicts to contentious divorces.
Child custody can be a contentious part of a New York divorce. Contact us online to consult with an experienced family lawyer in Manhattan.