Fathers’ Rights in Westchester Custody Cases
It is not uncommon for fathers to worry that they will receive less time with their children when it comes to divorce and custody and that they will be marginalized as parents. A qualified custody lawyer who understands the importance of fathers’ rights in Westchester custody cases can be a crucial part of raising those concerns.
When it comes to custody the most important factor to remember is that, barring any unique circumstances, each parent has an equal right to the custody of a child. New York Domestic Relations Law 70 includes language that dictates a court not make a predetermination of custody in favor of either parent. This means courts are compelled to listen to each parent and weigh the facts to determine custody.
The Basics of Custody in Westchester
Custody also referred to as co-parenting, is often a contentious issue in a divorce. Understanding the basics of custody can help you work with your lawyer to determine the best approach toward your custody negotiations.
Courts recognize two types of custody, legal and physical. Legal custody generally refers to the right to make important determinations about a child’s life and well-being such as decisions regarding medical treatment and education. Physical custody refers to where the child physically resides and can, perhaps, be better thought of as a parenting plan or a time-sharing plan. Courts prefer to have parents determine their own parenting plans but that is not always possible. It is especially important to recognize your individual rights as a parent – especially in situations where joint legal and/or physical custody is not an option.
Best Interests of the Child
Courts approach decisions involving children with caution, and understandably so. Most of these decisions are made based on what the best interests of the child may be. As per New York Domestic Relations Law 240, the factors used in determining the best interests of the child may include:
- Age and health of each parent
- Age, health, and any special needs of the child
- Financial means of each parent
- Preferences of the child, when appropriate
- Sibling placement
- Religious and/or cultural considerations
This statute is purposely broad. The reason for that is to allow parents to work as closely as possible with one another when determining important issues such as child custody. It also provides courts with an important structure to make child custody decisions when parents cannot agree on important terms.
Our Westchester Attorneys Protect Fathers’ Rights in Child Custody Cases
There are many fathers who are wholly dedicated to their children and want nothing more than to make sure their child’s best interests are being met. Maintaining a strong relationship with their father and continuing to build that relationship is an important part of ensuring those interests are met. It is important for fathers to understand their rights when it comes to custody and to work with a dedicated attorney who can advocate for those rights.
If you are a father in Westchester with questions or concerns about fathers’ rights when it comes to custody, contact our passionate attorneys to learn more about how our firm can work with you to exert your rights so you can have the best possible relationship with your children.