Often, one of the most painful and most difficult parts of a divorce is child custody. Some couples can set aside their differences for the sake of their children, and reach an agreement without an ugly custody battle. However, many parents feel that their ex is not fit to raise their child, and some will use a child to get at the other person. Most parents do not understand what the court looks for in determining the best interest of the child. An experienced divorce attorney can help you gain custody of your child or reach an agreement that truly serves the best interest of your child.
• The mother is automatically awarded custody. Although mothers are granted primary custody more frequently, it is not a forgone conclusion. Custody matters a determined based on the best interest of your children and if the court deems that primary custody with the father is in your child’s best interest, he will be the primary custodian.
• Because I am a better person I will get custody. Although, your character and the character of the people who live in your home or who visit your home frequently can make a difference in some custody decisions there are several other factors involved. And your opinion about what makes you a better custodian of your children than your spouse may not be shared by the court. Do not fall into the trap of believing that an occupation, religious affiliation (lack of one), or personal appearance will cause the court to automatically deny custody.
• Because my ex spouse makes more income than I do, he or she will get custody. While income and financial resources has a bearing on custody, it is not the sole factor upon which a custody decision is made. Even though financial affluence can act as an advantage in both the ability to provide and in obtaining good legal representation, other factors such as stability, attention and love often weigh more heavily with the court.
• If my ex spouse fails to pay I can deny him or her visitation. Visitation and child support are two separate issues in the eyes of the court. If the court has ordered visitation you may not deny your spouse access to his or her child. If you do, you may find yourself facing a contempt order or worse.
• My ex spouse has no right to expose our child to his or her new love interest. Unless you can prove in court that your ex spouse’s new romantic partner is dangerous and harmful to your child the court will not intercede. Also, make accusations that are unfounded could result in the court revisiting your visitation rights as well as alienating your child from you.
Don’t rely on myths – get your child custody questions answered
It is easy to get wrapped up in myths or to believe that one person’s experience is what you can expect in a child custody matter. To get your child custody questions answered it is best to talk to an experienced Long Island divorce attorney who understands how the law applies to your particular circumstances.