Whether a couple is married or unmarried, ending a relationship is difficult… custody is often the most complicated and emotional topic to address.
So let me guide you…
Custody can be divided into a number of parts: physical custody, legal custody, joint custody, residential custody, primary custody, shared custody are but a few.
Depending upon the age of a child or children, custody can be more or less a routine uncontested part of the divorce process or, in the worst of circumstances, a hotly contested issue involving experts selected by the parties or courts to assist in rendering a determination of the strengths and weaknesses of the parents and the children.
Is it a costly process? You bet it is. Not only in terms of money but sometimes more importantly in terms of the expenditure of emotional resources. If parents share joint physical custody, the children may be able to spend an equal amount of time living with each parent. If one parent has sole physical custody, the children may spend most of their time living with that parent while the other parent has “visitation rights”. The legal ability to make meaningful decisions in each child’s life can be given to one parent of the other in specific areas such as education, medical treatment, sports and the like.
Of course, if one parent has engaged in domestic violence toward the other parent or a child, that could be a limiting if not disqualifying factor in that parents’ ability to have unsupervised or “alone” time with a child.
The topic or relocation following a divorce or other life changing event is a separate topic which most couples cannot envision at the time of divorce. Sometimes a parent will consent to a relocation of a child with an agreed modification of the prior schedule. Other times this becomes the subject of a separate proceeding following the divorce. It is best to consider all possibilities at the time of divorce in order to avoid difficult and costly litigation which frequently follows.
Can Couples Decide Custody on Their Own?
The best way to work out a custody arrangement is to consider what’s best for the family, taking into account each child’s:
- physical and emotional needs
- daily routines
- adjustment to school, local community, friends, caretakers and relatives, and
- any extracurricular activities.
Parents should set aside any hard feelings about the separation, sit down together, and review schedules, residences, school options, finances, and any other factors that might affect the children. Once they’ve reached a custody agreement, the parents should put all their terms into a writing that covers holidays, travel arrangements, visitation-related costs, and includes a detailed visitation schedule. When the custody agreement is signed, the parents should submit it to the judge or court attorney referee in Family or Supreme Court for approval.
All of this that I’ve just shared with you can be extremely intimidating and overwhelming which is why we offer a FREE Phone Consultation to ask questions and get clear on the things that will have the biggest impact in your case and situation.
The first step is to call (631) 543-3700 or fill in the form below this post and one of our senior partners will contact you as soon as they are available.