Custody & Visitation
Custody and visitation issues are often complex and require the advice of a skilled family law attorney who will help you weigh the potential outcomes and balance emotions. Regardless of your legal status with the other parent of your child, you each will continue to be parents moving forward. An experienced family lawyer can help you protect your parental rights and the future of your children.
There are a number of different options for child custody/access plans. We will work with you to make sure you understand your options, so you can figure out the plan that works best for your family. We can also make sure you come up with a comprehensive and fair plan regarding visitation, parenting time and time-sharing.
The basic structure of any custody and access arrangement will address decision making regarding the child as well as times when each parent will have access to the child. The phrase "custody" typically refers to the decision-making process relative to significant issues for the child. Most parents entering into a joint custody arrangement have agreed to communicate and work together to agree on major decisions. To the extent that a party has "sole custody" that individual is the exclusive decision maker. He or she could seek the input of the other parent but is under no legal obligation to do so. The access component of the agreement or court order deals with when each parent sees and spends time with a child and can range from being very detailed and specific to more broad and general.
Ultimately, the court is tasked with determining what is in the best interest of the child and may look to the past practices of the parties, their overall stability, and backgrounds and may also hear from other witnesses such as school personnel or other family members. The courts also may obtain assistance including evaluations relative to the mental health or potential substance abuse of either parent and may also order a custodial evaluation which is typically conducted by an individual possessing a Ph.D. or MSW in some form of family counseling or psychology.
To contact one of our attorneys with any questions please call us at 716.636.7600. All inquiries and consultation are confidential.