The answer is not easy, and there is no magical formula, but over the years, I have noticed countless ways to strengthen a child custody case.
Below are my Top Ten:
- A Journal – Keep a diary or journal of every event regarding your children. Including pick-up and drop-off times, telephone calls, child support payments sent or received, note who does the pick-up and drop-off, and keep track of other activities with your child. Courts are all about record-keeping. Therefore, you must keep great, organized notes. Never let the other parent see your journal.
- Driving – Make sure you maintain a clean driving record. DWI or reckless driving charges will be used against you in court. Be sure to have an appropriate car seat, booster seat, and seatbelts. Often, local fire departments or police departments will help you pick out and install safety seats.
- Social Media – Suspend all your social media but keep close track of the other parent's social media. You do not want to post a picture of yourself at a crazy weekend party.
- Follow all Court Orders – Even if you don't agree with the court order or the other parent violates the court order be sure that you are following the court's order.
- Know your Child's Doctors and Teachers – Know these important people. Also, keep track of the names of any coach(s) or counselor(s).
- No Drugs – If you have been taking any recreational drugs you must stop. Any proof of the use of recreational drugs will be devastating to your custody case.
- Witnesses – Keep in contact with all potential witnesses. Your attorney will help you identify any such witnesses.
- Spend time with your children – Spend as much quality time with your child as possible. Do every pick-up and drop-off and unless necessary for your employment, keep child care to a minimum. Take advantage of all time you have with your child. Do not miss any days and if you do schedule a make-up day.
- Conversations with your child – Do not discuss the custody case with your child. Don't push them for information about the other parent. Always try to boost your child's self-esteem.
- Hire the best family law (custody lawyer) you can find - You will not only need advice as the custody case progresses but will undoubtedly have questions after the case. Your attorney should be prepared, have the experience to handle your case, and be available for follow-up questions after the case.
If you have a child custody issue in New York State, contact my law firm for a free consultation. Our main offices are in Westchester County in White Plains, and we also maintain an office in Orange County. Our attorneys are aggressive and have the experience to protect your rights and fight for Custody.
We regularly appear in the New York Family Courts of Westchester County (White Plains, Yonkers & New Rochelle), Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland County, and the Bronx. Call us today for a consultation (914) 946-4808.
New York Custody Case FAQ
Q. How do I get full custody of my child in New York?
A. To obtain full custody you must file a petition in the New York Family Court and in that petition clearly state the reasons why you should be awarded full custody. You must promote the best interests of your child in your petition.
Q. What is considered an unfit parent in New York?
A. An unfit parent is any parent who can not meet a child's needs regarding their health, safety, education, or general welfare or have endangered the child's physical or emotional well being such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, or history of violence.
Q. How much does filing for custody in the New York Family Court cost?
A. Filing a petition in the New York Family Court is free. It is also free to file motions and other legal documents.
Q. Do I need an attorney to get full custody of my child?
A. Yes, an attorney is necessary to advocate on your behalf. An experienced Family Court lawyer will know the New York Family Court Act, case law, and local family court procedures and can strategize to help you obtain full custody.
Q. At what age can a child choose which parent they want to live in New York?
A. The courts look to the child's maturity and will pay close attention to outside influences by parents. Children have their own attorney in family court proceedings and those attorneys can substitute their judgment. Generally, a child over the age of 12 can express a preference as to where they choose to live.
Q. Is New York a mother or father state?
A. The New York Family Court places no preference to either parent for a custody award simply due to gender. This is true of both legal and physical custody. The Family Court Judges are required to apply the child's best interest standard in awarding custody.