Child Custody

Family Law Attorney Protecting the Rights of New York Parents

For most parents, the health and welfare of their child are of paramount importance. When the parents of a child choose to end their marriage or relationship, however, they often disagree as to which living arrangement is in the child’s best interest. They may seek intervention from the courts to determine custody. If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is vital to retain an assertive New York child custody lawyer to assist you in pursuing an arrangement that is beneficial to your child and allows you to exercise your parental rights. Attorney Valerie S. Wolfman has been assisting New York parents in family law disputes for decades. Ms. Wolfman is a zealous advocate for her clients and will work tirelessly to help you pursue the most suitable custody arrangement under the facts of your case.

Joint and Sole Custody

Under New York law, the starting assumption is that both parents have an equal right to custody of a child. In any child custody case, the court's primary concern is to develop a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. In most cases, the court will find that a joint custody arrangement benefits the child, and it will grant each parent legal and physical custody rights. In some cases, however, the court may grant one parent sole custody. The court may also find that a combination of joint and sole custody is most appropriate under the circumstances. For example, the court may determine that one parent should be granted sole legal custody, but the parents should be granted joint physical custody. If your co-parent and you cannot agree on a custody arrangement, it is essential to meet with an experienced child custody attorney in New York as soon as possible to help you protect your rights.

Legal and Physical Custody

In New York, child custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make critical decisions regarding how the child should be raised, such as decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and religious practices. Meanwhile, physical custody is the right to have a child reside with a parent. In determining legal and physical custody, the court will assess what is in the best interest of the child. Specific factors that the court will examine include the home environment and parental guidance that each parent can provide for the child, as well as each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s intellectual and emotional development. The court will also weigh each parent’s financial means and ability to provide for the child’s physical needs, in addition to the health of both parents and the child. No single factor is determinative in deciding which custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. Instead, the court will assess the totality of the circumstances.

International Custody

With the ever-expanding global economy, it is not uncommon for the parents of a child to reside in different countries. International custody disputes are typically more complicated than domestic disputes and are governed by separate laws and procedures. If you live in a different country from your co-parent, you should retain a New York child custody attorney who has experience in these cases. Valerie S. Wolfman has worked with many foreign nationals in child custody matters, especially citizens of France, Germany, and Switzerland.

First, it is important to determine which country has jurisdiction over the matter. If the child resides with both parents, they may disagree as to which court should decide the custody arrangement. The court in which a custody action is filed will most likely have jurisdiction over the matter initially, but depending on the circumstances, a parent may be able to argue that the case should be transferred to another jurisdiction. While there are no uniform international custody laws, many countries, including the United States, have entered into a treaty known as the Hague Convention. This treaty provides support in enforcing custody agreements and petitioning for the return of a child who has been wrongfully abducted to another country.

Meet with a Seasoned Child Custody Attorney to Discuss Your Case

Child custody disputes are emotionally charged and can present complex legal issues. If you are involved in a custody dispute with your child's co-parent, it is vital to meet with a child custody lawyer in New York to discuss what you can do to protect your parental rights. Valerie S. Wolfman is proficient in handling domestic and international custody disputes, and she will work tirelessly to help you pursue a custody arrangement that is beneficial to your child and fair to you. Ms. Wolfman has an office in Manhattan, and she assists people in custody matters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties. Ms. Wolfman can be reached through the online form or at (646) 293-4704 to set up a confidential consultation.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Her approach was by far the most down to earth and honest that I could wish for. She is upfront and will give you a great amount of information for a first consultation, which is good if you don't want to get more confuse about what to do. The initial consultation fee was also extremely reasonable and Valerie was very very generous with her time. She did no rushed or pressured me to make any decision. M.A.