Child Custody

Rochester Child Custody Attorneys

Helping You Through Your Custody Dispute

Having a role in your child’s life is essential. If you and your child’s other parent are not together, ensuring that each of you can maintain a strong relationship with your child can be difficult. 

Although you might have developed a verbal agreement about who makes decisions about your child’s care, who your child lives with, and when your child visits each parent, it’s not legally binding. 

Child custody and visitation orders from a court provide you with enforceable stipulations concerning your child’s care and upbringing. 

Because the outcome of a custody and visitation hearing can impact your family’s future, it’s important to have a family law attorney help present your case to seek a favorable resolution.

At Duke Law Firm, P.C., our Rochester child custody lawyers provide quality legal services to families going through challenging times. We work closely with our clients to understand their goals and needs and develop a proactive strategy. 

When you hire a child custody lawyer from our law firm in Rochester, we will maintain constant communication to ensure that you understand your legal options and that you can make confident and informed decisions about how your matter proceeds. 

Focusing on your family is your top concern. That is why we take care of the legalities of your case to minimize some of the stresses you might be facing during this emotional time.

Schedule a consultation with one of our child custody attorneys serving Rochester by contacting us at (585) 449-4987 today.

The Different Types of Child Custody in New York

A child custody order rendered by the court establishes which parent is responsible for making decisions and providing physical care for the child. 

These rights and responsibilities can be granted to one or both parents, referred to as sole or joint custody, respectively.

The two kinds of custody in New York include:

  • Legal custody: This concerns the decision-making responsibility of the parents. Whoever has legal custody can decide on things such as where the child goes to school, the type of medical care the child receives, and the child’s religious upbringing. The court can assign sole legal custody, which allows only one parent to make these decisions. It can also award joint legal custody, where both parents must decide on these matters together.
  • Physical custody: This concerns who the child lives with and provides physical care and supervision to the child. As with legal custody, physical custody can be granted as sole or joint. With sole physical custody, one parent has the child more than 50% of the time. The other parent – called the non-custodial parent – can have visitation rights. If the court awards joint physical custody, the child lives with both parents equally.

How Child Custody Is Determined in Rochester, NY

New York courts are concerned with ensuring that both parents can maintain a relationship with their children by having frequent and quality contact with them. 

A set definition of what is in the best interest of the child does not exist. 

Every family is different. Thus, the specifics of each situation must be considered to determine what orders should be rendered to ensure that the child’s health and safety are protected.

Is New York a 50/50 custody State?

No, New York is not considered a 50/50 custody state. The courts determine custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child. 

While 50/50 custody arrangements are possible in New York, there is no automatic presumption that there should be a 50/50 custody agreement. The NY courts generally prefer to have both parents involved in the child's life. 

A judge will look at numerous details about your family to determine what arrangements would be best for the child. In New York, a judge usually only grants joint custody when both parents agree. 

Even then, a judge will question the parents to determine whether joint custody is in the child's best interests.

Generally, when a judge is deciding on custody matters, they will look at various factors, including:

  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver
  • The parenting skills of each parent
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence
  • The parent’s work schedules
  • The child’s relationship with other family members
  • The child’s preferences (depending on their age)
  • The parents’ ability to work together and encourage their child to maintain a relationship with the other parent

Our Rochester child custody lawyers can fully explain New York’s laws and help you understand how custody decisions are made. 

We can build a legal strategy to assist in pursuing an effective order for your family.

Developing a Visitation Schedule

In situations where sole physical custody is awarded, the non-custodial parent will have the right to visit their child. 

A visitation schedule must be developed to ensure that both parents know when and how visitation is to happen.

The parents can create a visitation schedule together. A judge will review the proposed agreement to ensure that it is in the child's best interest before approving it.

If the parents cannot settle on a visitation schedule, the court will decide for them at a hearing.

At Duke Law Firm, P.C., we seek amicable resolutions to complicated family matters. We can work with you to create a fair visitation schedule. 

Still, we recognize that not all cases can be resolved out of court, which is why we will be prepared to fight to protect your interests and rights at a hearing.

Speak with a Member of Our Law Firm Today

Our child custody attorneys serving Rochester can provide the compassionate guidance you need throughout your case

We are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and seek a just outcome for you and your family.

To discuss your matter with one of our child custody lawyers, please call (585) 449-4987 or submit an online contact form.

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Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (585) 449-4987.