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Rockland & Westchester County Divorce Lawyer > Orange County Child Custody Lawyer

Orange County Child Custody Lawyer

New York law states that child custody, parenting time division, and other such determinations must be in the best interests of the children. That’s different from, and often radically different from, the best interests of the parents. These orders are usually extremely specific, not only as to the visitation schedule, but also as to visitation methods (e.g. Dad must pull up to the curb and honk once).

Such intricate orders are no problem for the detail-oriented Orange County child custody lawyers at The Law Office of Robert Sunshine. Specific orders usually eliminate the need for expensive enforcement actions. Furthermore, the details are important to children. Whether they admit it or not, children need structure and predictability to thrive. That’s especially true in the wake of a divorce or other life-changing event.

Initial Determinations

New York’s co-parenting law presumes that children win if they have consistent and meaningful contact with both parents. That being said, the court must designate a residential parent and a non-residential parent.

Some factors to consider in this determination include the ability of each parent, the temperament of each parent, the child’s relationship with each parent, and perhaps most importantly, the current informal timesharing arrangement, if any. As mentioned, divorce is so disruptive that many judges like to see as much continuity as possible.

As for visitation, the traditional every other weekend/every other holiday timesharing arrangement frequently works well. Some nontraditional alternatives are gaining popularity in New York. They include:

  • Block Scheduling: Twelve months a year, children spend two weeks with Parent A, two weeks with Parent B, and then the cycle repeats. This schedule is very predictable, results in a roughly 50-50 division, and includes some accommodations around birthdays, Fathers/Mothers Day, and major holidays.
  • Extended Weekend: If you’re trying to lose weight or save money, small changes over time often make a big difference. Likewise, starting weekend visitation on Wednesday night and ending it on Monday morning brings the traditional timeshare division much closer to 50-50.

Usually, judges approve any timesharing arrangement that Orange County child custody lawyers work out during settlement negotiations.

Subsequent Modifications

Move-away modifications are the most frequent child custody modifications in New York. Most people relocate frequently, usually for job reasons. Others relocate to be further away from, or closer to, family.

Extremely short-distance moves, like from one part of Orange County to another part, may not require judicial approval. Nevertheless, it’s usually a good idea to legally modify the orders in these situations. As mentioned, timesharing orders are usually very specific. Short-distance relocations often affect pickup and dropoff times and locations.

Speaking of locations, exchanges at neutral places, like a local fast food restaurant or a police station parking lot, are very common if domestic violence or a similar issue is involved in the divorce. Limited contact or supervised visitation are common restrictions as well. Usually, the affected party may ask the court to remove these restrictions after s/he completes an anger management class, parenting class, or jumps through another hoop.

Some modifications ask for a residential/non-residential designation change. These radical changes are especially common in paternity cases.

Count on a Thorough Clarkstown Attorney

Family law matters almost always involve emotional and financial issues. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Orange County Child Custody Lawyer, contact The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. After-hours, virtual, and home visits are available.

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