Saratoga Child Custody Attorneys

Negotiating Workable Parenting Plans

If you have children and are considering a separation or divorce, one of the most important decisions you will have is how your children will be raised and cared for. This is difficult in an intact marriage; when parents are going through the emotional trauma of marital dissolution, this issue can become explosive. Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. understands the complexity of the legal and human issues attached to child custody. We can help you obtain a complete custody arrangement that meets the individual needs of your children and addresses the unique circumstances of your family.

Child Custody Considerations in New York Divorces

Legal Custody

Separating or divorcing parents must determine how important decisions will be made for their children. After a separation or divorce, one or both parents will make decisions regarding what school the children will go to or what doctor will treat the children. Legal custody is the right to make legal decisions for your children and can be granted to just one parent (sole) or both (joint).

Even when they’re not able to get along, parents will often insist on joint legal custody. The majority of custody cases are negotiated in an agreement. The current trend in negotiated agreements is to accommodate the parents and state that the parties will have joint legal custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody addresses where the children will live. Parents can share physical custody equally, with each parent having the children 50 percent of the time, or the children can live mostly in one parent’s home. The more common arrangement is to have one “primary physical custodian.”

Visitation and Parenting Time

If one parent will have primary physical custody, both must agree on the scheduled times when the children will see their other parent, i.e., “visitation” or “parenting time.” There is no such thing as a typical access schedule. The frequency, duration and type of access vary from family to family. It can be dictated by unique work schedules, school arrangements or the convenience of both parties. If no access schedule is set and the parties cannot agree, one of the parents can ask a court to set a schedule. The time and cost involved in going back to court should be enough incentive to work thorough these issues and continue to cooperate with the other parent on custody and visitation schedules.

New York Divorce Courts and the “Status Quo”

Family law courts decide matters based on their perception of “the best interest of the child(ren).” Since stability is generally in the children’s interest, especially during a time of upheaval like a divorce, the court prefers to maintain the status quo. This can mean identifying a parent who has been the primary caregiver and favoring that person in custody matters, just as the primary bread-winner would take primary responsibility for child support. A parent who has been largely absent in the children’s lives has a difficult time suing for joint legal and physical custody during a divorce.

Contact Our Experienced New York Child Custody Attorneys

To speak with the lawyers at Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C., call us at (518) 383-1182. We will be happy to answer your questions and schedule an initial appointment at our Clifton Park office. You can also schedule an appointment by contacting us online.