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Child Custody Attorney Serving Saratoga Springs, New York

When it comes to establishing a child custody arrangement, there are numerous factors to consider. It's important to remember that the primary focus should always be on the well-being and best interests of the child. The process can often be emotionally charged and complex, which is why having an experienced attorney, like Clarisa Gentile from CSG Law Firm, by your side can be incredibly valuable. 

Establishing Child Custody

There are essentially two main routes you can take when establishing a child custody arrangement. The first option is for you and the other parent to agree on terms and present them to the court for approval. This approach, whenever feasible, is the quickest, least expensive, and least stressful option. Your family law attorney can provide guidance and help you keep the conversation productive and focused. 

However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the case will be taken to family court. Here, a judge will use their discretion to establish a custody arrangement. In such scenarios, your attorney can present your case convincingly, increasing the likelihood of securing an arrangement that best suits your family's needs. 

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Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody

In New York, child custody arrangements typically fall under two categories: joint custody and sole custody.  

Joint custody in New York is characterized by both parents sharing responsibility for making major decisions in their child's life, such as those related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. It requires a cooperative effort and the ability to communicate effectively for the child's best interest. Joint custody can be legal, physical, or both, but it does not necessarily mean equal parenting time. 

On the other hand, sole custody grants one parent the exclusive rights and responsibilities for making significant decisions about the child's welfare. The non-custodial parent may still have visitation rights and spend time with the child, but they do not share in the authority to make central choices about the child's upbringing. Sole custody is usually granted when one parent is deemed unfit or it's in the child's best interest to have a primary decision-maker. 

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

Beyond the overarching categories of joint and sole custody, there are also distinctions between legal and physical custody.  

Legal custody refers to the authority to make important decisions in the child's life. This encompasses choices about schooling, healthcare, religious activities, and other significant matters that can impact the child's future and well-being. In New York, either parent can be awarded legal custody, or it can be shared, whereby both parents must agree on these important decisions. 

Physical custody, also known as residential custody, pertains to with whom the child will primarily live. Physical custody arrangements dictate the child's living arrangements and day-to-day care. In New York, a parent with physical custody provides the child's primary residence and handles the routine aspects of caregiving, although the actual living arrangements and visitation schedules can vary widely based on the court's determination of what is in the child's best interest. 

Factors Considered in Determining Custody

When determining custody, several factors are taken into consideration. These can include the child's age, health, emotional ties to each parent, the parents' ability to provide a stable environment, and more. The court's primary aim is to ensure the child's best interests are upheld. 

Modifying an Existing Child Custody Arrangement

Modifying an existing child custody arrangement is possible, especially when there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was put in place. To initiate a modification, you or your attorney, need to file a petition in court outlining the reasons for the change. 

The court will consider whether the modification is in the best interests of the child. They will factor in things like a change in employment, relocation, or changes in the child's health or well-being. The process typically will involve an evaluation of the current situation, potentially including home visits and interviews with both parents and the child. 

If both parents are in agreement about the changes, they can jointly submit a proposed modification for the court's approval. However, if one parent objects, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the proposed changes are justified and in line with the child’s best interests. An experienced child custody attorney can offer invaluable assistance in navigating this process and presenting a compelling case for modification. 

Child Custody Attorney Serving Saratoga Springs, New York

If you're facing a child custody issue or need assistance in modifying an existing arrangement, don't hesitate to reach out to the CSG Law Firm. Serving clients throughout Saratoga Springs, New York, and extending their services across Fulton County and Schenectady, Attorney Gentile is committed to helping families find the best possible outcomes. Understanding that every situation is unique, they work diligently to ensure each client's needs are met with empathy and professionalism. They're here to support you through every step of this challenging process. Reach out to the firm today for support.