Articles Posted in Child Custody

When co-parents cannot agree on how to divide custody rights, they will often turn to the courts to resolve their disputes. In any custody action filed in New York, the court’s driving concern is what is in the child’s best interest. The courts can only issue rulings in cases in which they can properly exercise jurisdiction, however. Thus, if a court issues a custody order in a case that falls outside of its jurisdiction, it may be vacated, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a New York court. If you need help defining or protecting your parental rights, it is wise to consult a  New York child custody attorney to discuss your options.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the mother and father married in Albania in 2014. They then moved to New Jersey and, in 2016, had a child. The following year, during a visit to Albania, the father filed for divorce. The mother and child subsequently relocated to New York while the father stayed in New Jersey. Courts in both New Jersey and Albania issued orders regarding custody arrangements and parenting time.

Allegedly, in 2019, the mother filed a petition in a New York court seeking a modification of the custodial terms and asserting concerns for the child’s safety. The court temporarily suspended the father’s parenting time, but after an investigation deemed the concerns to be unfounded, the court lifted the suspension. In October 2020, the father filed a petition in the New York Court seeking a modification to his scheduled parenting time. The parties ultimately entered into an agreement, which was reduced to a written order. The mother then appealed. Continue reading

People often relocate for job opportunities without issue. When a person who wishes to move to another state shares custody of a child, however, it can create complications. In evaluating a petition to relocate or any custody issue, the court’s main focus is on what is in the best interest of the child involved. As demonstrated in a recent New York opinion, what arrangement is most beneficial for a child can change over time. If you have questions regarding your rights as a parent, it is in your best interest to speak to a  New York child custody attorney promptly.

History of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father were co-parents of a minor child. The father, who had sole custody of the child since 2016, filed a petition for relocation in 2021. The court appointed a forensic psychologist, who found recommended that the court deny the petition; his recommendation arose out of conversations with the minor child that occurred over a year prior to the hearing, however.

Allegedly, the court conducted a lengthy Lincoln hearing with the child, after which it determined that the child wished to relocate. Thus, the court found it to be in the child’s best interest to allow the father to relocate with the child to California. As such, it granted the father’s petition for relocation and established the mother’s parental access schedule with the child. The mother appealed. Continue reading

The following questions are examples of frequently asked questions during a consultation as it relates to contested divorces for parties with children. These are typically the topics that cover most contested divorce proceedings with children.

Divorces for people with children:

  1. How long do Contested Divorces usually take?

In New York custody actions, the court’s primary focus is the child’s best interest. Typically, the courts find that it will benefit a child to foster the parent-child relationship. As such, in cases in which parents share custody, if one parent attempts to alienate the child from the other parent, the court may find it in the child’s best interest to modify the custody arrangement. Recently, a New York court delivered an opinion in a child custody matter, in which it discussed what evidence is needed to establish parental alienation sufficient to warrant a custody modification. If you need help establishing or modifying your custody rights, it is in your best interest to confer with a New York child custody attorney as soon as possible.

Factual History

It is alleged that the mother and father married in 2007 and had two children during their marriage. They entered into a separation agreement in 2015 in connection with a divorce action that was filed but discontinued. Under the terms of the agreement, they shared joint legal custody of the children; the mother had residential custody, while the father had the right to parental access.

Reportedly, in 2016 the father filed an action in the Family Court seeking to enforce the separation agreement. The father asserted that the mother was interfering with his right to parental access. The court subsequently granted the parties joint legal custody but awarded the mother residential custody. The court modified the plaintiff’s parental access schedule as well. In 2018, the father filed an action for divorce and other relief seeking sole custody of the children, arguing that the mother regularly interfered with his parental access. The mother filed a cross-motion for sole custody. Following a lengthy hearing, the court granted the father sole residential and legal custody of the children. The mother appealed. Continue reading

When parents share legal custody of a child, they typically must confer with one another regarding major decisions. If they are unable to come to an agreement as to which course of action to take on an issue, they may seek a resolution from the courts. If a court finds that the relationship between co-parents has deteriorated so that a joint decision is impossible, it may modify an existing custody arrangement. For example, in a recent New York ruling, a court examined whether a mother and father’s contrary viewpoints on whether their children should receive the COVID-19 vaccine warranted a change to the order defining custody. If you are concerned about your rights with regard to legal custody of your child, it is smart to meet with a trusted New York child custody lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the husband and the wife married in 2005 and had two children during their marriage. The husband commenced a divorce action in 2016, and the parties entered into a settlement agreement that was incorporated into a judgment of divorce issued in 2018. Pursuant to the agreement, they shared legal and physical custody of their children. In April 2020, the parties entered into a consent stipulation that required them to comply with all New York guidelines related to COVID-19.

People who share custody of a child often live in the same city, and in some cases, they may include a provision in their custody agreement that requires them to live within a certain geographical area. Circumstances can change, however, and one parent may wish to move to another location. In such instances, the court typically must evaluate whether the geographical restriction is in the best interest of the child, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is smart to contact a New York divorce lawyer to discuss your options for protecting your parental rights.

The Subject Agreement

Reportedly, the husband and wife entered into a marital settlement agreement that provided they would share custody and enjoy equal visitation time with their children. The agreement also dictated that they would reside in the same geographic location. Subsequently, the husband relocated to a home outside of the area defined by the agreement and filed an application to modify the agreement. The wife then filed an affidavit seeking enforcement, a recalculation of child support, and changes in the visitation schedule. She requested primary full custody of the children as well.

Geographical Restrictions in Custody Cases

In evaluating the parties’ applications, the court noted that the relief requested by the mother could only be granted if there was a change in the circumstances and the modifications sought would be in the best interest of the children. The court determined that the father’s relocation outside of the geographic area set forth in the agreement constituted a change in circumstances sufficient to warrant such relief, but the agreement lacked clarity in that it did not define what sanctions if any, either party would face for violating the geographic restriction. Continue reading

Pursuant to New York law, parties in custody actions may enter into stipulations setting forth terms defining custody and child support rights, and the courts will generally affirm such agreements if they are in the best interest of the children in question. Essentially, the court-approved agreements in custody actions are contracts and will be interpreted and enforced as such. That does not mean that the terms of such agreement cannot be modified by the court, however, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling issued in a custody matter. If you are engaged in a custody dispute, it is advisable to consult a skilled New York family law attorney to discuss your rights.

The Background of the Case

It is reported that the parties married in 2002 and had two children together. The wife filed an action for divorce in New York in 2012. The husband insisted that any divorce take place in France, however, where the parties previously lived, and in April 2013, the District Court of Paris entered a judgment of divorce stating the parties were to exercise joint parental authority and deemed the wife’s home as the children’s usual residence. The judgment also granted the father parental access and ordered him to pay child support.

It is alleged that in March 2016, the parties entered into a stipulation regarding custody that stated, in part, that they had joint legal custody of the children. The stipulation also granted the mother primary residential custody and the father parental access. Further, it provided that the parties were to work with a parent coordinator and that, barring an emergency, neither party should return to court without first consulting the coordinator. In June 2018, the wife filed a motion to modify the stipulation and certain aspects of the divorce judgment. The court then issued an order directing a hearing to aid in the disposition of the motion, noting that while the parties were required to use a parent coordinator, such use was of no help. The husband appealed. Continue reading

Those fighting on the front lines are now faced with additional challenges – custody of their children. Because medical providers, firefighters, and other essential workers are exposed to COVID-19 more than anyone else, they are now getting denied parental access to their children.
Unfortunately, there is not enough guidance from the courts in NYS regarding custody during the global pandemic, and the only hope is that parents will be reasonable.
Co-parenting is easy for parents who get along well but is challenging for those who feel animosity towards each other during normal times. Now, in the times of social distancing and the quarantine in NY, co-parenting for them becomes hell.

Rudyuk Law Fim will continue to update you on new developments and information in light of COVID-19 pandemic which affects divorce litigation and family law procedures in NYC.

Last evening, New York State Unified Court System Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued an administrative order outlining additional steps the court system is taking to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“Effective immediately, the prosecution of any pending civil matters including any discovery that would require in-person appearances or travel is strongly discouraged.

With schools closed and parents’ work schedules altered, co-parenting may become even more challenging. Below are some tips on how to get through the difficult times with the best interest of your children in mind.

Accept the fact that your parenting time may need to change:  Regardless of whether the parents reside next to each other or at different ends of a big cosmopolitan city, your parenting time may have to change. With schools closed and parents working from home, everyone will need to adapt to a new routine. You may now need more help from your ex to watch the children if your day is full of virtual meetings and phone calls. Perhaps facetime with your children will save them and you the risk of being exposed to the disease during your pick-up and drop-off commute. Even if you’ve been following a court-ordered visitation schedule, it is totally fine to alter on consent of both parents. Exchange text messages or emails with proposed new schedules and communicate!!!! Put your animosity towards each other aside and focus on safeguarding your children.

If a quarantine is announced, allow the primary custodian to continue to care for the children and have facetime with them instead of picking them up. Discuss how you can make up the missed time by, perhaps, adding more time with the children during the summer. Maybe spend time with the children in the primary custodian’s house instead of taking them outside. Be smart, be loving, be understanding.

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