Fathers Rights Lawyer New York, NY
Fathers are just as important as mothers. In fact, children typically benefit from having both in their lives in order to grow up healthy and happy. For this reason, fathers should be closely involved with their children, even after divorce.
Unfortunately, some New York judges still treat fathers as less than mothers in family court. It’s important to understand, however, that the law considers mothers and fathers on equal footing when they request custody or visitation. Long gone are the days when the law allowed judges to assume that children in their tender years were best off with their mothers.
Although the law has changed, certain attitudes and presumptions have not. As experienced New York divorce attorneys, we have seen judges operate under certain biases that continue to disadvantage fathers. To protect your rights, you need an attorney experienced with fathers’ rights issues to represent you in court.
Divorce Attorney For Men
Divorce is never a pretty picture. Divorces are rarely straightforward and amiable. It doesn’t matter what good intentions a couple go through a divorce with, there are typically fights about equitable distribution of assets, and then there are the children.
One spot where most couples will quickly come to blows is over child custody. We understand that each parent has the best interests of the child at heart, however, many times children will get used as leverage against another parent. We’re sure you’re probably thinking about how regularly, mothers tend to win custody over fathers, simply because they are visibly more present. This bias isn’t always the case, however, it can be problematic for fathers who want to be a part of their children’s lives and legally deserve to be.
The Best Interests for the Child
A judge decides all child custody issues according to the best interests of your children. But how does a judge decide that?
Fundamentally it means that under the law judges must put the child’s health and safety at the forefront of any decision regarding custody. To help determine what custody arrangement will be in the child’s best interest, judges look at many factors, including:
- Each parent’s skills as a parent, including their strengths and weaknesses
- Which parent has provided most of the care for the child
- Each parent’s work schedules and plans for childcare
- The child’s relationship with any siblings or other members of the family
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- Whether there has been a history of domestic violence
- Each person’s ability to work with the other parent and to encourage the child to maintain a relationship with the other parent
- The child’s preferences, if the child is old enough
- Other relevant factors
No one factor controls the analysis. For example, the fact that one parent has a physical disability does not automatically disqualify him or her from obtaining custody.
In practice, however, some judges give undue influence to which parent has provided most of the care for the child. In many instances, our client is a father who went outside the home to provide for his family, sometimes working more than one job or working 50 hours a week so that his wife could stay home with the children. When looking at this situation, some judges assume that the mother has a stronger bond with the child and that she deserves custody.
To present a compelling argument on your behalf, you need to begin compiling evidence as soon as possible. If you are a father who is outside the home often for work or travel, you should develop a plan for staying in close contact with your children, which will make your case for custody much stronger.
Visitation Rights and Co-Parenting
There are two types of custody in New York: legal custody and physical custody. At our law firm, we fight for both.
Legal custody gives one or both parents the power to make important legal decisions affecting a child’s:
- Medical care
- Religious upbringing
- Extracurricular activities
If both parents are under legal custody, they must reach an agreement on these important issues. Co-parenting can be difficult, and ex-spouses should settle on a method of resolving disputes.
Physical custody refers the right to the physical possession of the child. In other words, the parent who the child lives with daily has physical custody. Shared physical custody refers to a situation where parents have a roughly equal amount of time with the child. However, that arrangement is rarely realistic unless the parents live very close together. Instead, one parent has the bulk of the time, and the other parent gets visitation.
Typically, the parent who has the child more than 50% of the time is considered the “custodial” parent. This does not mean that the custodial parent can keep the child away from the other parent.
Fathers in New York are absolutely entitled to visitation unless there is a history of abuse or extreme neglect. The amount of visitation a father will receive depends on many factors, such as the father’s work schedule and where he lives. However, there is no reason under New York law (absent those mentioned above) why a biological father should not have considerable visitation with his children. Developing a visitation schedule can be challenging, but the representation of an experienced New York fathers’ rights lawyer can protect your parental rights.
Our Lawyers Fight for Fathers’ Rights
As advocates for fathers in New York, we are aware of many scenarios where judges and mothers work to undermine a father’s rights:
- A judge decides that a mother should have primary custody even when she has serious issues, including a desire to prevent the child from maintaining a close bond with his or her father.
- A judge doesn’t perform a careful analysis of the best interests of the child, instead giving a mother custody solely on the fact that she was a stay-at-home mother.
- A mother tries to deny her ex visitation by suddenly canceling a visit or falsely claiming that the child does not want to see the father.
- A judge gives inadequate visitation that does not allow the father to maintain a sufficient relationship with his children.
- Mothers make unilateral legal decisions for the child even when both parents share legal custody.
To protect your relationship with your child, you need an experienced attorney who understands that the playing field is often not leveled.
Contact a New York Fathers’ Rights Attorney
If you are in the midst of a divorce, or if you see one on the horizon, you need to take immediate action to protect your relationship with your child. The most important step you can take is to pick up the phone and contact a father’s rights attorney in New York.
At the Levoritz Law Firm, we have guided countless men through the divorce process, and we understand how to counteract bias against fathers at each stage of the proceedings. Protecting a father’s rights is some of the most important work that we do. By hiring us, you will make the strongest case possible for custody or visitation. We can also help fathers who have not yet established paternity.