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Attorneys Advise You on Joint and Shared Custody in New York State

Queens lawyers help you negotiate a shared custody arrangement

While shared custody might seem like a fair compromise in a potentially bruising custody battle, the focus of New York State courts is not on the parents, but on what is in the best interests of the child. So there is no guarantee that the court will agree to joint custody, even if the parents do. If joint custody is your preference, the attorneys at Sager Gellerman Eisner Attorneys at Law have the experience necessary to make a persuasive case to the court for your desired arrangement.

New York State law on joint custody

No law in New York State compels a court to impose joint custody by default. However, the appellate court in Braiman v. Braiman, 44 N.Y.2d 584 (N.Y. App. Div. 1978) wrote that joint custody is encouraged when:

  • It is a voluntary alternative to full custody.
  • The parents are stable and amicable.
  • The parents behave in a mature, civilized manner.

The court added that when joint custody is “imposed upon already embattled and embittered parents, accusing one another of serious vices and wrongs, it can only enhance familial chaos.”

The important point here is that the parents’ behavior and attitude can greatly affect the court’s decisions on child custody.  In our experience, New York State judges are committed to securing a safe, stable home for children.

How do I file for joint custody in NYS?

A parent, grandparent or a person with an established relationship with the child can petition the court for custody of the child. The person seeking custody would go to family court and file a petition requesting custody. You can work with your New York family law attorney to represent you. Custody arrangements can also be worked out through mediation.

No absolute right to the children in New York

Parents should also keep in mind that according to the New York Domestic Relations Law, “In all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent.” This means that neither parent in New York State is presumed to have a right to custody. The court will not, for instance, award full custody to an unfit parent merely because the other parent would be an even worse alternative. The court is not required to place a child with the lesser of two evils.

Our Queens County attorneys help you reach your family’s goals

If joint custody is your goal, the attorneys at Sager Gellerman Eisner Attorneys at Law can build a persuasive case. You can reach us through our online contact form or call us at 347.625.1038 for a consultation. We serve clients in Nassau and Queens Counties and the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.