Child custody arrangements are among the most contentious issues in divorce proceedings. Protect your rights while advancing the best interests of your loved ones by working with a child custody lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Led by veteran NY & NJ family lawyer Paul Goldhamer, our legal team helps New York and New Jersey parents find agreeable resolutions to difficult child custody and visitation matters.
We understand the serious nature of custody arrangements, which will ultimately help shape the health, safety and emotional well-being of the child. KGG attorneys work tirelessly to create positive solutions designed to benefit the child and the family as a unit. We also recognize the advantages of having both parents involved in the raising of their children. Toward that end, we aim for equitable arrangements that allow co-parenting whenever possible.
Child custody lawyers serving Bergen & Rockland County families since 1975
Our attorneys specialize in family law, and work hard to negotiate a child custody arrangement that is satisfactory to both parents. However, if this strategy fails, we are prepared to litigate before a judge at trial.
As respected child custody lawyers serving Bergen County and Rockland County since 1975, we offer zealous advocacy for married clients, non-married couples with children, and also support the rights of grandparents seeking child visitation.
Advancing the best interest of the child
New Jersey and New York courts make child custody and visitation decisions based on the “best interests of the child.” In both states the child’s health and safety are of paramount concern. New Jersey child custody laws favor the concept of preserving the family unit with children maintaining strong relationships with both parents. In fact, less than five percent of NJ child custody cases end in sole custody.
When New York and New Jersey parents are unable to resolve custody disputes amicably on their own, and the case goes before the courts, the judge will consider the following elements when determining the best interest of the child:
- Mental and physical health of the parents and child
- If the child has any special needs
- The age of the child
- If there are allegations of domestic violence
- Parents’ employment responsibilities and work schedules
- The child’s parental preference, depending on his or her age
- Stability of each parent’s home environment
- The quality of the child’s relationships with both parents and other members of the family
- The level of cooperation between parents in making major decisions for the child
- The geographical distance between both parents’ residences
Disagreements over child custody and parental visitation rights are often complicated further by accusations of domestic violence in the home. Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman child custody attorneys can pursue an order of protection for you and your children. We can also defend you against false allegations of domestic abuse and protect your parental rights.
Child custody laws in New York & New Jersey
Because no two divorces are the same, your child custody arrangement and parental visitation schedule will be unique to your situation. Many facets of your child’s future care are up for negotiation during divorce proceedings, when issues of legal custody and physical custody are decided.
Legal custody refers to the right to make all decisions in regards to the care and upbringing of the child. This includes what type of education and medical care the child receives, as well as what religion the child is exposed to. In many cases, New Jersey and New York courts favor joint legal custody, enabling both parents to share in this decision-making process. Depending on the circumstances, legal custody may be awarded to one parent or both.
Physical custody refers to where the child lives. With this responsibility, parents must provide adequate physical needs (shelter, food, transportation, etc). Physical custody can be split between both parents, but this is generally reserved for those who live relatively close to one another.
The most common arrangement is for the parents to share a joint custody arrangement. In this case, “joint” does not mean equal, but rather that both parents share in the child raising responsibilities. On the other hand, a parent who is awarded sole custody is charged with the care of the child, including making major decisions regarding their upbringing. However, NJ courts will grant appropriate visitation rights to the non-custodial parent — this “visitation” is also known as “parenting time.” This is a predetermined schedule that allows the child to spend time with the non-custodial parent, or even grandparent in some cases. In addition to regular weekday and weekend visits, the agreement must also consider vacations, holidays and other special occasions to achieve fairness.
If you live in New Jersey or New York and have questions about child custody and visitation rights, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman for sound legal advice. Child custody lawyer Paul Goldhamer and his talented team of divorce attorneys offer superior advocacy in a wide range of complicated matters.
Child Custody Enforcement and Modification
If one parent is failing to live up to their custody obligations, it may be necessary to seek a contempt or enforcement order to protect your custody and visitation rights. It is unacceptable for a parent to disobey orders of court, particularly when involving children.
In other situations, you may require a child custody modification if circumstances have substantially changed since the initial order was entered. A substantial change in lifestyle may make a post-divorce modification of custody and visitation schedules necessary.
If one parent wishes to move with children, or if a parent disagrees with such a request, a parental relocation order may be necessary. Any divorced parent or unmarried parent with a child custody order must consult with a qualified family law attorney before moving with children, as moving without leave from the court may violate the custody order.
Parents who violate court orders risk losing custody and visitation rights to their children.
Child Custody Attorneys Serving Bergen County & Rockland County
At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we work hard to earn your trust, and we have a track record of positive results in complicated family law matters. If you are seeking effective custody representation in Bergen County, NJ, Rockland County, NY, or the surrounding communities, contact a child custody lawyer at KGG for a private consultation.
Additional Resources on “Child Custody & Visitation”:
- NYCourts.gov, Custody/Visitation Hearing https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/family/custodyHearing.shtml
- Justia, 2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 9 – CHILDREN–JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURTS http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2013/title-9
- Uniform Law Commission, Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Summary http://www.uniformlaws.org/ActSummary.aspx?title=Child%20Custody%20Jurisdiction%20and%20Enforcement%20Act