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Law Office of Mary Jane Murphy​: Child Custody And Visitation In New York

The most bitter, heated arguments when couples split up are often about who gets the children. Many unmarried couples do not know where to turn when circumstances change in the adult relationship. In some situations, unmarried parents may agree on the terms of custody and visitation matters and seek an initial custody order to maintain stability for their children, should circumstances change in the future.

Parents who are already separated may need to change an existing child custody order if circumstances change. There are strategic considerations – which court to file in, what petitions to file, when to file, what to say– that should generally be discussed with an attorney in advance of filing. The right family law attorney can make all the difference in your case by preparing well-written court documents, answering your questions about what to expect and making you feel the security of knowing your case is in good hands.

Look to the Law Office of Mary Jane Murphy for child custody and support services in Broome, Tioga and surrounding counties. Attorney Mary Jane Murphy boasts a strong track record in family law. She is kindhearted, experienced and determined to bring your case to a desirable close. She will push for a fair outcome for her clients, and if a resolution cannot be reached, she is ready and willing to take the case to trial. You can be confident that she is competent and capable of handling your case.

How Custody Works In New York

Like many states, New York determines custody based on what courts perceive to be in the best interest of the child. In New York, mothers and fathers have the same basic rights to their children; there is no presumption that young children are better off with their mothers. The court will almost always assign an attorney for the child, or AFC (who is paid by the state), to represent the interests and wishes of the child. Where the children have different wishes, they may be given different attorneys. Parents should make their children available to their AFC, but should avoid discussing court proceedings with the children. Parents should save their complaints and comments about the other parent for times when the children are not in earshot.

Legal custody involves making key decisions about the child’s education and medical care. Most parents hold joint legal custody, which means that they must consult each other when making important decisions. If the parties cannot communicate, one parent may be given sole custody. A parent with sole custody can decide such matters as whether the child should have elective surgery or attend a private school, without having to consult the other parent. However, the sole custodian still is expected to promptly inform the other parent of important events or concerns about the child. Parents often mistakenly believe that a parent with sole custody is allowed to relocate with the child. This is not the case. A parent cannot remove the child from their home state without court permission or the written permission of the other parent.

More important in daily living is the question of primary residence, which addresses where the child will live. There are a variety of solutions for dividing the child’s time; many factors, such as the age and adaptability of the child, the parents’ work schedules, and transportation issues, go into these decisions. These agreements are typically worked out between parties and their attorneys when the parties are willing to communicate.

Another common misconception is that children can choose where to live and whether to visit a parent when they reach a certain age. In New York, there is no particular age; kids have a voice from an early age, and that voice carries more weight as the child grows older. However, children are individually assessed as to their maturity and the reasons for their preference.

Arrange Your No-Pressure Consultation

Don’t navigate the complications of child support and custody alone. You and your children will benefit from the services of a knowledgeable family attorney. Contact the Law Office of Mary Jane Murphy today to learn more about child custody and support in New York. Call our office in  Binghamton at 607-304-6195. We serve clients in the Southern Tier and throughout New York.