If you are involved in a child custody dispute, in order to best prepare, it is important to understand how custody is decided in New York. In the past, while courts may have heavily favored a mother during custody cases, this is no longer the case. Today, a court will look at the unique situations of both parents and decide custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. This means that the conditions and arrangements which see that a child is best cared for will trump the concerns or preferences of either parent. No two family circumstances are alike and the situations which constitute the best interest of a child will be different for every case.
Factors which a judge may consider include:
- The health of each parent and child
- The ability of each parent to provide child care
- The living arrangements provided by each parent
- The preference and emotional attachments of the child
- Evidence of neglectful or abusive behavior
How Can I Improve the Chances of Winning My Child Custody Case?
To improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome, it is important to take steps which demonstrate your ability as a parent to provide a caring and positive atmosphere that is in the best interest of your child. You will not be able to control every element a court considers in determining child custody, such as the behavior or situation of your spouse. You can, however, influence many other factors involved in a custody battle through your own conduct.
Steps which can help you win custody include:
- Be prepared: All legal processes can require a tremendous amount of paperwork. An attorney knowledgeable in family law and child custody can properly advise you on the documentation which may be needed in your case. Commonly required documents can include financial information, court orders, and medical reports. By getting organized, you can help to reduce delays and complications while ensuring that the legal process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Stay courteous: While you and your spouse may not agree, it is important to remain polite and avoid engaging in heated arguments with your spouse, their legal representation, or courtroom parties. Remember, you will want to present evidence of your ability to provide a safe and constructive environment for your child. Regardless of intent, avoid acts which can be interpreted as aggressive, hostile, or violent.
- Remain involved in your child’s life: Matters of family law and child custody can be extremely time-consuming and costly. During legal proceedings, it is important to keep an active role in your child’s education, social, and home life. For example, a parent can volunteer to assist with afterschool activities or participate social projects. Additionally, as medical records may present themselves in multiple areas of a custody battle, it is beneficial to have an in-depth knowledge of your child’s relevant medical history and upcoming appointments.
- Do not engage in deceptive behavior: The court will be watching each party closely to determine the best interest of the children. It is vital that you do not attack the character of your spouse in an attempt to turn children against their other parent. Engaging in these actions can have a negative impact on your child custody case. Additionally, courts can generally grant joint custody and by speaking negatively about your spouse to your children, you can hinder their developmental opportunities with that parent.
- Ask questions: Child custody agreements can be complex to the point of intimidation. Your attorney understands this and knows that the average person is not knowledgeable on all aspects of the law. If you do not understand a feature of your case, it is important to say so. While a good lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action, an attorney can only provide the best help when all parties are on the same page.
Compassionate Legal Representation – Call (631) 777-7200
The Long Island child custody attorneys at the Rubenfeld Law Firm have more than 25 years of experience in family law and have helped clients in cases of child custody. Every family’s situation is unique, and our firm will take the time to understand your goals so that we can construct a customized legal strategy that fits your needs. No matter how complex your case is, our firm will strive to provide the legal guidance you deserve at the time when you need it most.
Schedule a free consultation today and talk to a lawyer about your case.