Petito & Petito, LLP
Child custody issues create some of the most difficult cases we handle at Petito & Petito, LLP. Even when spouses separate or get divorced, they rarely want to sacrifice precious time with their children. Fortunately, our Poughkeepsie child custody lawyers have spent the last 47 years helping families get through custody disputes and finding custom solutions to their unique problems.
We represent mothers, fathers, and even grandparents in child custody battles, and we always seek what is best for you and your children (or grandchildren).
To learn more about what our firm can do for you, please call us at (845) 400-9602 today.
What Is Child Custody?
Child custody determines who has responsibility for the care, control, and maintenance of a child. Whoever has legal custody has the right to make important decisions about a child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Whoever has physical custody is responsible for caring for and supervising a child.
Usually, both parents share legal custody, and physical custody is determined by whatever living situation is in the best interests of the child.
Some parents share physical custody 50/50, but if the custody order favors one parent, they become the custodial parent. Noncustodial parents still have the right to visitation.
Our Poughkeepsie child custody attorneys can help you create a child custody order that works for you and your family.
We can also help with issues regarding visitation (please see our visitation page for more).
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Usually, New York courts issue orders of custody during divorce proceedings. Otherwise, any parent, grandparent, or person with a substantial connection or relationship with the child may file a petition for custody in family court.
Family courts always act in the best interests of the child. Generally, spending time with both parents is in the child’s best interest, but a judge may award full custody to one parent if the other parent is abusive or has neglected the child. Similarly, the judge may award custody to a grandparent or another family member if both parents are abusive or unfit to care for their child.
In child custody matters, each party usually has their own attorney. Sometimes, the court appoints an “Attorney for Child” to represent the child, too.
If you need an attorney to represent your interests, look no further than Petito & Petito, LLP.
Can I Settle My Case Without Going to Trial?
Yes. Family law courts in New York often recommend mediation for child custody disputes. With mediation, you can work with your child’s other parent (or any other party) to come to an agreement outside of trial. You can make your agreement a child custody order by getting it approved in court.
When you choose mediation or settle your case outside of court, you get to decide what happens to your child. If you go to trial, the judge gets to decide what happens to your child.
Our firm can help you reach a settlement when appropriate and fight for you in court when it is not.
Yes. If your life circumstances change, you can ask the court to modify an existing child custody order. Modifications are an important part of child custody law in New York.
How Do I Get Custody of My Child?
Mothers and legal fathers automatically get custody of their children. Biological fathers may need to sign an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” to get custody of their children when they are not married to the children’s mothers.
Without a custody order, both parents have equal custody rights, and either parent can keep the child.
If you want to get sole custody of your child, you will have to ask the court and give a good reason for this arrangement. Courts rarely award sole custody because spending time with both parents is in the best interest of the child.
Rarely, parents can lose custody due to “extraordinary circumstances,” usually neglect, abuse, physical or mental disability, drug use, or imprisonment.
As we mentioned earlier, if circumstances change, either parent can petition for sole custody or file a petition to get their custody rights back.
Petito & Petito, LLP can help you share custody with a co-parent, get sole custody, or defend your parental rights and responsibilities. We have been handling cases like yours since 1975 and have almost 60 years of combined experience.
We are a family firm, and we want what’s best for your family.