Experience. Diligence. Professionalism.

Trusted Legal Guidance For Custody And Co-Parenting

When your family faces difficult legal issues, your greatest concern as a parent is your child’s well-being, followed closely by protecting your relationship with your child. Although your marriage or partnership is ending, you and your ex will always share a child together, which means it is in your best interest to learn how to work together. Most likely, your child loves and needs both of you and wants you both to be an active part of their life.

At my firm, The Law Office of John J. Leonard, I understand the importance of creating a custody arrangement that protects your interests while also creating a co-parenting plan that works well for your entire family. I am dedicated to helping families throughout Long Island and Suffolk County find success in co-parenting.

Understanding New York Custody Laws

Like most states, New York breaks custody into two types. The first is legal custody, which gives you the right to make important decisions about your child, such as their education, medical treatment and religious upbringing. The second type is physical custody, which refers to the time the child spends with each parent.

When only one parent has either type of custody, we refer to that as sole custody. Where both parents have custody, we refer to that as joint custody. These days, the courts strongly encourage children to have a good relationship with both parents and favor some type of joint custody.

What Is In The Best Interest Of Your Child?

In many cases, parents work out their own joint custody plan based on what works best for their family. You can create an agreement through negotiation or mediation. There are many proven benefits to this, not the least of which is the mental and emotional well-being of children when compared to a difficult custody battle.

If you cannot agree, however, and the court must decide custody for you, the law provides guidance based on the best interests of your child. The judge can review a number of factors to make their decision, such as the child’s historical relationship with each parent, the health and well-being of both parents and the child, and how willing each parent will be to support the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Making Co-Parenting Work For Your Family

Studies regarding co-parenting have been conclusive. The more positive and stable parents are through the co-parenting process, the better the children tend to adjust to the changes. That does not mean it will be easy for you.

If you have reservations regarding the process or have already begun co-parenting and find it difficult, the good news is that you have many tools available to help. They include:

  • Co-parenting therapy
  • Co-parenting classes
  • Phone apps that help improve parental communications, such as Our Family Wizard

In the rare case that your family history includes domestic violence, neglect or substance abuse, your family may not be a good candidate for co-parenting and shared custody. As your lawyer, I can talk to you about the best approach in those situations and help you choose the option that is right for you and your children.

Learn More About Custody And Co-parenting

I am here to help you understand your options and guide you on a path that will work for you and your family. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling my office in Hampton Bays at 888-367-0445 or by filling out my online contact form.