The Elliot Green Law Offices are child custody attorneys in Brooklyn, New York who can assist you if you are facing questions about child custody during your divorce. One of the most difficult aspects about getting a divorce involves deciding where your children will live and how decisions about your children’s upbringing will be made. During a divorce, parents are required to develop a parenting plan that outlines where children will live and how critical decisions about schooling, religion, and after-school activities will be made. When parents cannot agree about where children will live or how decisions will be made, the courts use the best interests of the child standard during child custody cases. The Elliot Green Law Offices are child custody attorneys who can help you draft a parenting plan that is in accordance with the best interests of the child standards in Brooklyn, New York. What are these standards?
What the New York State Unified Court System Notes About Best Interests of the Child
First, it is important to consider that these standards offer general guidelines and don’t offer hard and fast rules for who should get custody. Each judge will weigh these factors differently, so it can sometimes be difficult to predict the outcome of a child custody battle if one ends up in court. It is often in the best interests of divorcing parents to resolve their child custody questions outside of court with the assistance of a child custody attorney. However, if you must take your child custody battle to court, here are some factors that the judge may consider, according to the New York State Unified Court System:
- Preference may be given to the child’s primary caregiver. The judge may look at who was primarily raising the child before the divorce or separation. In general, the courts tend to favor the child having a stable situation. So, if you were the parent who took the child to school, managed your child’s after-school activities, bathed, fed, and otherwise cared for your child, the courts may weigh physical custody decisions in your favor. The Elliot Green Law Offices are child custody lawyers who can help you document your role as a caretaker.
- Courts may give preference to the parent with the best ability of each parent to provide for the child. The courts will evaluate each parent’s situation and abilities and will determine which parent is best able to care for the child’s emotional, physical, and psychological well-being. Factors like distance from the child’s school, housing situation, and finances may impact a judge’s decision about whom to award custody.
- Mental and physical health of each parent. Each parent’s health may be evaluated. However, parents should not be discriminated against on the basis of disability, so it can be helpful to have a child custody lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York on your side if you have a disability and believe that you may face discrimination on the basis of your disability.
- Domestic violence. The protection of the children in domestic violence situations is paramount. In cases where there has been domestic violence, the court may order supervised visitation to protect the needs of the child. If you think your child’s contact with a parent should be limited due to violence or abuse, it is important to speak to a child custody lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices because these cases can be more complex than other child custody cases.
- The child’s relationship with siblings and other family members. In general, the courts want to give the children a situation that is stable. Courts will try to avoid separating siblings or placing children in custody arrangements where the children may lose ties with family members, friends, or other stable community relationships—like a school or after school activities.
- The children’s desires. If the children are old enough, the court may ask them what their preferences are.
- The parent’s ability to foster a relationship with both parents. In general, the courts favor that the children enjoy a relationship with both parents. If one parent is perceived as trying to alienate a child from the other parent, this can lead to the court awarding the other parent custody. Of course, there are situations where a parent may want to protect a child, such as in situations of domestic violence. If this is the case, you may want to speak to the child custody attorneys at the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York. Supporting your case is essential if you are concerned about the safety of your children. Otherwise, it is often best to encourage open visitation.
These are just some of the factors the court may consider when awarding child custody and when making decisions about parenting plans. In general, parents should try to avoid taking their child custody battles to court because there is always a chance that a judge will make a decision neither parent wants. Ultimately, the child’s parents are in the best position to understand their children’s needs. However, there may be circumstances where child custody decisions cannot be made outside of court. The Elliot Green Law Offices are Brooklyn, New York child custody attorneys who can help you with your parenting plan and assist you should you need to take a child custody battle to court.
Building a Strong Child Custody Case
While it is usually advisable to resolve your child custody questions outside of court with the help of a child custody attorney, sometimes cases must go to court, especially if both parents cannot reach a satisfactory agreement. Given the best interests of the child standards, what are some things you can do you help make a stronger case? Here are some things to consider:
- Gather documentation to show that you are the child’s primary caretaker. If you have e-mails showing that you scheduled parent teacher conferences, were the primary point of contact at your child’s school, or have evidence that you were responsible for caretaking, this evidence could be useful in a child custody battle.
- Gather documentation that shows that you can support your child financially. This may include prior years’ taxes, pay stubs, and evidence of your home or living situation.
- Gather documentation if you have had to get a restraining order against a violent spouse. If your spouse has been violent or has threatened you with violence, you may need to get a restraining order, or show evidence of police reports.
- Show that you are willing to work with the other parent for visitation. Unless there is a concern for your child’s safety, you should show a willingness to promote visits and promote a relationship between your child and the other parent.
These are just some of the factors that can help you build a stronger case. If you have questions about child custody in Brooklyn, New York, the Elliot Green Law Offices can offer you guidance. Our attorneys can look at your situation and help you understand what your rights are and how the best interests of the child standards may apply in your situation.