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Your child means everything to you, so when child custody issues arise, your world feels like it has been turned upside down. While these matters come up most common in a divorce case, there are also situations where unmarried parents must address child custody. If you do not have legal experience, it is difficult to fully comprehend the laws and court rules in New York. You may suffer a range of emotions as your future with your child appears grim.

Fortunately, you do not have take on tough child custody matters alone. Our attorneys at The Colwell Law Group, LLC have decades of combined experience serving families in Ulster County, NY, helping them obtain the best possible outcome in even the most challenging cases. We deliver personalized, knowledgeable legal services with a goal to make sure you maintain a strong, healthy relationship with your child.

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Child Custody Arrangements Under New York Law

There are many provisions regarding how courts make child custody decisions under New York State law, but these cases break down into two basic arrangements:

  1. Legal Custody: This type of custody involves important decision-making on issues related to raising the child. A parent with legal custody has legal authority regarding education, religious practices, medical care, and similar matters.
  2. Physical Custody: When a child lives with one parent, that person has physical custody. The terms “custodial” or “residential” parent may also be used to describe this situation.

It is possible for one parent to have sole legal and/or physical custody of a child, but joint custody and co-parenting is the more common – and preferred – arrangement. Courts, including the Ulster County Family Court, favor a shared approach to parenting, involvement in the child’s life, and making important decisions. There are exceptions where there is a history of violence or threat of domestic abuse.

Best Interests of the Child Standard

Parents may come to an agreement on child custody instead of having the court decide. As long as the arrangement is reasonable and fair, a judge will likely approve it. If there are disputes, it will be necessary to go to court for a determination on child custody. The best interests of the child are paramount, so a judge considers various factors, including:

  • Each parent’s physical and mental health;
  • Whether one parent has historically acted as the primary caregiver;
  • The parents’ willingness to cooperate and communicate regarding child custody issues;
  • Work schedules, as they bear upon a parent spending time with the child and for purposes of child care;
  • Financial capabilities;
  • Domestic violence incidents involving either parent;
  • The child’s wishes, if he or she is of an appropriate age; and,
  • Other considerations as provided by New York law.

Trust an Ulster County Child Custody Attorney with Your Case

If you are facing a child custody dispute, or you are a father seeking rights to your child, you require an talented and experienced lawyer throughout each step of your case. At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, our child custody attorneys are committed to offering you with the highest quality of legal services. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for assistance moving forward.

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