A court can determine that joint custody is in a child’s best interest. Joint custody refers to both parents having legal custody of a child. Legal custody differs from physical custody and is important to know your rights.

Custody battles can be complex and knowing your legal rights is important, which is why it is best to have an experienced child custody attorney on your side. The Manhattan and Brooklyn joint custody attorneys at Randi L. Karmel, PLLC have more than twenty years of experience and can handle your case with the empathy and effectiveness needed to ensure that you will get the best possible outcome.

Joint Custody Overview

If parents have “joint custody,” it means the court has granted them legal custody, which means they have an equal say in the important decisions that may be made concerning a child’s life, regardless of who has physical custody. Joint legal custody requires that both parents discuss and agree upon major decisions affecting the child.

A judge will typically award joint custody when the relationship between the parents is amiable, and they generally agree on child-rearing practices. Joint custody will only be awarded when both parents agree to it.

Provided under the New York Courts, whoever had legal custody “has the right to make important decisions about a child’s care such as medical care or religious upbringing.” If there is no court order given, then both parents have equal rights to physical and legal custody of the child.

How does a court decide custody?

There are generally three factors that go into New York court’s ruling for custody:

  • First, the court will decide if they have the authority to hear the case. A New York court has authority to hear a case if:
    • The child is less than six months old,
    • The child has lived in New York for the past six months,
    • New York issued the last custody order, OR
    • The child is in New York after an emergency occurred.
  • The court will always decide what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest, even if a parent has requested custody. The court will consider:
    • The parent’s lifestyle
    • Stability of the parent
    • The ability for the parent to care for the child
    • Drug use
    • Domestic violence actions
    • Quality and condition of the home
  • The child’s preference: older children will have greater weight given to their preference.

It is possible for custody to change. Either parent can file a petition to change custody or visitation. In order to file for a change of custody, that parent must prove that there is a significant change in circumstances since the last order.

Contact a Manhattan Child Custody Attorney Today

If you are going through a custody battle, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. When you turn to Randi L. Karmel, PLLC for help, you are gaining an advocate with extensive experience handling complex child custody issues.

The Manhattan and Brooklyn joint custody attorneys at Randi L. Karmel, PLLC, have a thorough understanding of the law surrounding child custody and visitation in New York, and they have the compassion necessary to get you through this difficult time.

When you need a Manhattan or Brooklyn child joint custody attorney contact us by filling out the online form or calling 212-755-0224 for our Manhattan office, or 718-923-0877 for our Brooklyn office.