Few issues are more sensitive and potentially volatile in family law proceedings than matters impacting children. Whether you are unmarried or are going through a divorce, both you and the other parent have rights and responsibilities as parents, and in cases where custody is contested, it is the court's job to intervene and ensure the appropriate plans are created and followed.
Deciding on Custody Matters
Black’s Legal Dictionary advises that in matters pertaining to custody, the court’s main goal is protecting the best interests of the child. Most children do better by having loving and supportive relationships with both parents, when possible. In making custody arrangements and awarding physical custody as well as legal custody, which is the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, development, and religious upbringing, the court will consider the following factors:
- The proven ability of each parent to provide a nurturing, safe environment;
- The moral fitness of each parent and the role they have previously played in the child’s life;
- The ability of each parent to cooperate with the other;
- The physical location of each parent’s residence;
- Any scheduling needs the parents or the child have;
- The child’s age and, where appropriate, their preference in terms of which parent they want to live with.
The judge may order sole custody to one parent while granting the other visitation, or they may order a joint timesharing arrangement in which each parent spends equal amounts of time with the child.
Making Joint Custody Work
To support the rights of both parents, courts are increasingly ruling for joint time sharing arrangements when possible. This can present challenges, particularly if the parties involved parted on poor terms or have unresolved issues. Parents.com recommends the following tips to help make joint custody easier for both you and your child:
- Make a point of not bad mouthing your former partner in front of your child.
- Put your personal feelings aside and remember that having a good relationship with both parents is in your child’s best interests.
- Be realistic about your own schedule and needs. Joint custody can make it easier for both parents to work and maintain a social life.
- When scheduling, keep your child’s education, social, and recreational activities in mind, and make plans accordingly.
- Make a point of communicating firmly but respectfully with the other parent;
- Be flexible and willing to compromise when the situation warrants it.
Try to use patience and keep your expectations reasonable. Realize that while the other person may have been a bad partner for you, it does not necessarily mean they will be a bad parent.
Contact Us Today for Help
Unfortunately, enforcing that court order and making sure the custodial parent remains compliant can be quite complicated, but you deserve to spend time with your child or children. Reach out to a New York family law attorney to find out what is best for your case. The law offices Richard Bombardo can help you in Syracuse at (315) 488-5544 if you are experiencing difficulty with a custodial parent who will not obey the court order.