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New York Child Custody Modification Lawyer

Child custody issues represent highly emotionally charged, as well as legally complex matters. If you are contemplating pursuing a change of custody, you need to understand the basic facts and factors associated with this type of legal issue. You also need to seriously consider retaining the services of a skilled, experienced New York child custody modification lawyer.

Overview of Child Custody in the State of New York

There actually are two types of child custody that can be subject to modification in the state of New York. These are legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody is the ability of a parent to make primary life decisions for a minor child. These include issues like medical care, education, and religious practices.

Physical custody is the ability to a parent to provide a residence for a minor child pursuant to an order of the court. Associated with physical custody is visitation or parenting time for the non-custodial parent.

Legal Standard Used in a New York Child Custody Case

New York courts utilize the same general standard in making child custody decisions that is used in states across the country. Specifically, a child custody decision is made based on what is deemed in the best interests of a minor child.

A court takes a variety of factors into consideration when making a custody determination. These include such factors as the living situation of each parent, the overall health of the parties, and which parent historically has been the primary caretaker of the minor child.

Establishing Grounds to Change Custody

The best interests of a child is at the forefront of a consideration by a court to change an existing custodial arrangement. Changing custody is not an easy step to take and the desire to do so must be supported by strong evidence that a child’s best interests are served by making an alteration.

A party seeking to change custody needs to demonstrate that a material change of circumstances has occurred, rendering the existing custodial arrangement unsuitable. In other words, the best interests of the minor child no longer are served by the existing custody scheme. For example, if the health of the custodial parent has significantly deteriorated, an argument could be made that the child’s best interests cannot be served via the existing custodial arrangement.

Agreement to Change Custody

There are circumstances when parents mutually agree to change custody. Typically, a court will approve a proposed agreed custodial change put forth by parents.

With that said, a court still must review the proposed change. The court needs to confirm that the change in custody agreed to by the parents does meet the best interests of the child. The agreement to change child custody will then be made the standing order of the court in that particular case.

Retain a New York Child Custody Modification Lawyer

The first step in engaging legal representation in this type of case is to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced New York child custody modification lawyer. During an initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss you case in full with legal counsel. A lawyer will provide you an evaluation of your case and respond to any questions that you may have. Typically, there is no fee charged for an initial consultation in a child custody modification case.