Parenting Time Attorneys in Garden City, New York

Unfortunately, children are often thrust into the middle of adult problems, such as divorce, with little say-so over the outcome. Child custody is an extremely emotional issue, particularly when there are disputes between the parents regarding custody. In the state of New York, one parent is generally designated as the custodial parent—the parent the children will primarily live with—while the other parent is designated as the non-custodial parent and is granted parenting time. Like all states, the state of New York tries to settle custody matters according to the best interests of the child. For New York courts to have jurisdiction on a custody case, the child must have lived in the state of New York for the past six months, or, if the child is younger than six months, he or she must have been born in New York.

Neither parent has a preferred “right” to be granted custody of the couple’s child or children. Courts will generally consider the status of the primary caretaker of the child when making custody decisions. This means that if one parent stayed home and primarily did most of the caretaking for the child, that parent could be more likely to be designated as the custodial parent. The courts also believe that the child benefits from regular interactions and time spent with both parents, so, barring extenuating circumstances will award liberal parenting time to the non-custodial parent. While parenting time could be split 50/50, this can be difficult to maintain, unless both parents live in close proximity to one another, and are able to make parenting decisions together with few conflicts.

The attorneys at The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C.  have a deep understanding of child custody issues, as well as the parental and child emotions which come into play when custody and parenting time are being decided. When parenting time is an issue, having an experienced New York family law attorney who understands the many nuances of the New York family legal system is imperative. Attorney Katherine Ryan will use her knowledge of the laws and legal system associated with New York family law courts to the advantage of her clients, working within the parameters of New York law to negotiate the parenting time agreement.

Parenting Time in New York

Since each family structure is unique, it is important that the parenting time decisions fully reflect this, always taking into account the best interests of the child as well as the wishes of the parents. Parents have real-life demands which must be addressed—jobs, as well as other responsibilities. If the parent who is granted parenting time is routinely required to work weekends, then a “traditional” parenting time agreement in which the child spends weekends with the non-custodial parent, would not be realistic. The age of the child, as well as the level of school activities, extracurricular activities, and desires for social time, will also be taken into consideration.

When parents are unable to come to a mutually acceptable decision regarding parenting time and shared parental responsibilities, a New York judge will make those decisions for them. The Supreme Court regularly makes these decisions when the parties are married.  The Family Court regularly makes these decisions when the parties are not married.  The goal of today’s more flexible parenting plans is to remove the mentality on the part of the parents that child custody is about “winning” and “losing.” As noted, the courts believe that frequent, continuing contact with both parents is important. Parents are encouraged to share the rights, the responsibilities, and the joys of child-rearing. Once the judge determines the level of parental responsibility for each parent, and the parent who will be the designated custodial parent, then parenting time will be determined. Some parents choose to alternate major holidays, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and the child’s birthday, while others may choose to plan so that both parents can spend time with the child on these important days.

Parenting Plans in New York

In the state of New York, a parenting plan is required when the custody case is settled with the other parent. While a parenting plan is not required when litigation is the course chosen by the parents, presenting one will show commitment and present the parent’s desired arrangement in a more positive light. The parenting plan will address who will have physical and legal custody of the child—physical custody refers to where the child will primarily live, while legal custody refers to the parent who primarily makes the important decisions on behalf of the child.

These decisions can include educational decisions, religious decisions, medical decisions, and extracurricular activity decisions. In many cases, the parents will share legal custody, and one parent will be designated as the custodial parent. The parenting plan describes in detail how the parents will share parenting time, as well as the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child, pickup and drop off methods and times, and even the methods the parents will use to communicate with the children when the children are with the other parent. Parenting time, as set forth in the parenting plan, should be very detailed, particularly if one parent is likely to offer frequent challenges. It should be noted that parenting time and child support are two separate issues and that the parent receiving child support is not allowed to deny parenting time to the other parent when the child support check is not received.

How The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., Can Help with Parenting Time Issues

The attorneys at The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., can help parents with parenting time and custody issues. Our attorneys fully understand that custody and parenting time are deeply emotional issues, and we are sensitive to our clients’ feelings regarding anything that affects their children. Attorney Katherine Ryan will help work out parenting time, which is fair to all those involved, as well as a parenting plan which will adapt and adjust as the children grow older and their activities and interests change. Katherine Ryan represents clients in Nassau and Suffolk County as well as all boroughs of New York City.  We regularly represent clients from Garden City, Stewart Manor, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Huntington, Melville, Woodbury, Commack, Smithtown, Syosset, Jericho, Roslyn, and Manhasset.  Contact The Law Office of Katherine Ryan, P.C., today for a comprehensive evaluation of your child custody issues.