Child Custody and Parenting Time The Basics

During any divorce or Family Court proceeding, if there are children, the issue of custody and visitation is always an emotional one. There is no formal standard used by the court to determine custody, therefore in New York, both parents are presumed to have an equal opportunity to gain custody. The judge is required to make decisions based on the “best interest of the child” or children.

We understand the issues that you and your family face and will help you pursue the custody and visitation arrangements that you feel are in the best interest of your children.

Since a child is normally not represented in a divorce trial, the New York Court will often appoint an Attorney for the Child to represent any children as it relates to custody and parenting time. The Attorney for the Child also referred to as the Law Guardian, will meet with your children and represent their wishes. If the child is too young to express their own position, then the Attorney for the Child has the authority pursuant to statute to substitute their own opinions and make recommendations to the parties and to the Court.

Custody in the New York Courts is a painstaking process, resulting in emotional turmoil. Make sure you have the representation you need to form the start. We are committed to building a case that is designed to preserve your relationships with your children. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation


The proper term for visitation is called parenting time. Often after child custody has been decided, circumstances change which may warrant a modification of the original decree. There are many reasons why you may seek to modify your parenting time schedule with your children. Consult with one of our experienced attorneys to see if you may be eligible to modify the standing order.

  1. Are you satisfied with the time you’re spending with your children?
  2. Have your personal circumstances changed?
  3. Have your working hours changed?
  4. Is the residential custodial parent using babysitters instead of allowing the children to visit with you?
  5. Are your visitation rights with your children being hampered by the other parent?

The Family Courts in New York enforce modifications of visitation orders. Children grow up. Their needs change. The visitation agreement, or court order you have been living by may be outdated. It is in the best interest of a child to spend as much time with his or her parents as is reasonable. If your spouse is abusing your visitation rights this can be brought to the attention of the court and custody may be changed.